North Central College is one of five recipients to receive a grant from the DuPage County Stormwater Management Planning Committee. The grant will help improve the quality of DuPage County’s streams and rivers, as well as support the College’s project to install permeable pavers and rain gardens on campus.
“North Central College is extremely grateful that DuPage County has awarded us this grant,” said Brittany Drummond, the College’s sustainability coordinator. “The College works to implement a variety of sustainability projects throughout campus, such as installing permeable pavers and rain gardens. These efforts can be expensive, so this grant will help make this work possible.”
“The pavers and gardens will greatly benefit the environment and surrounding community by helping to manage stormwater,” said Drummond. “The pavers absorb rainwater, filter out pollutants and slow the water flow before reaching the neighboring river,” she said. The rain gardens “are shallow depressions in the ground that are planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses. The gardens allow rainwater runoff from impervious areas like downspouts, driveways, walkways or compacted lawns to be absorbed back into the water table.”
The construction of the new pavers and gardens is projected to begin in June and be completed by August 2017.
North Central lies on approximately 70 acres, both north and south of East Chicago Avenue, in the residential Naperville Historic District. This spring, the College is creating a new walkway starting from Jefferson Plaza, where the Sesquicentennial Walkway ends, to Brainard Street crossing to the west side of the street and past the College’s Kaufman Dining Hall. It continues across Chicago Avenue, ending at Highland Avenue and will be 9 feet wide and extend approximately 870 feet.
The Sesquicentennial Walkway and an adjacent parking lot were built in 2012 using permeable pavers and rain gardens, a project that was partially funded through the same DuPage County Water Quality Improvement grant program.
“This past grant year was the most competitive one yet. Not only did we receive the highest number of applications, but they were all impressive projects,” said Jim Zay, chair of the Stormwater Management Planning Committee, in a DuPage County news release. “This shows us that organizations countywide are thinking of ways to improve the quality of our streams and rivers, and many of these projects also help reduce localized flooding.”
According to the County’s release, the Water Quality Improvement Program grant awards up to 25 percent funding for projects exhibiting a regional water quality benefit. DuPage County received 14 applications this year for projects totaling more than $5 million. The Stormwater Committee awarded $278,062 to this year’s recipients and projects.