March 8, 2018 - Applications are now being accepted for 30 grants through RainReady Oak Park, a new program to help property owners pay for smart landscaping approaches that will better manage rain water.
Each participating homeowner will receive a free assessment of their yard, a customized landscape design and a grant of up to 50 percent of the cost of green landscaping solutions such as rain gardens and permeable pavement. The maximum grant is $1,300.
To be eligible, applicants must be residents of Oak Park who own and live in a single-family home with a yard and downspouts disconnected from the municipal sewer system.
Applicants must also have no outstanding Village obligations or building code violations, be able to maintain the landscaping improvements for at least three years and be willing to participate in an evaluation of the program.
Landscaping improvements eligible through the program include rain gardens and bioswales, which use porous soil and water-loving plants to absorb water. The installation of cisterns, dry wells and permeable pavement also can be covered through the grant. Such improvements typically cost $1,000 to $3,000.
Examples of landscaping that is not eligible through the grant include French drains, tree removal and new concrete or other impermeable surfaces.
Residents can apply for the program online or pick up a paper application from the Neighborhood Services Division in Room 214 at Village Hall, 123 Madison St. The deadline to apply is April 1.
While only a limited number of grants are available, applicants who aren’t selected this year will be put on a waiting list for next year.
A comprehensive list of answers to frequently asked questions about the RainReady Program also is available at www.oak-park.us/rainreadyFAQ2018.
The primary goals of the RainReady Oak Park program are to lessen the burden on Oak Park’s sewer system by capturing rain where it falls and reduce the risk of basement seepage and sewer backups by directing rain away from homes.
The program is funded by the Village of Oak Park and administered by RainReady, an initiative of the Center for Neighborhood Technology.
The Village introduced the RainReady program as a pilot project in 2017. Ten grants were awarded last year.
For more information about the program, contact the Village’s Neighborhood Services Division at 708.358.5410 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community workshop planned
The Village will host a community workshop about the RainReady Program from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 24 at the Oak Park Conservatory, 615 Garfield St. The workshop will cover the benefits of smart landscaping and tips for caring for a rain garden from a member of the Illinois Master Gardeners.
Anyone planning to attend is encouraged to RSVP by clicking here.
Click here to download a flyer with information about the workshop.
For more information call 708.358.5410 or email email@example.com.