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Governor Quinn Announces Investment in Blue Island for Major Stormwater Control Projects

Press Release - Saturday, October 11, 2014

BLUE ISLAND - Governor Pat Quinn today announced investments for stormwater control projects in Blue Island from his Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. Today's announcement is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to protect the environment by modernizing Illinois' water infrastructure, create jobs and drive Illinois' economy forward.

"It's important that all of Illinois' communities are protected from damaging floods," Governor Quinn said. "To keep up with the extreme weather Illinois has faced in recent years, we must invest locally to ensure our residents and their lands are prepared. These projects in Blue Island will alleviate urban flooding problems the community has experienced and make the stormwater management system more environmentally-friendly."

Blue Island is receiving two Illinois EPA stormwater grants for their "Blue Island, Blue Water" project. A $300,000 investment will go toward the Northeast Site Wetland Detention Pond to restore an 11-acre wetland in undeveloped open space bounded by railroads, industrial development and a redeveloped Brownfield site. During heavy rains the pond will be capable of storing a large amount of excess stormwater runoff. The remaining land will be planted with native plants and a new permeable pavement parking lot will be installed.

Phase two of the project will help reduce stormwater runoff into the combined sewer system through green infrastructure practices within a concentrated area straddling Vincennes Avenue. The $833,558 investment will help reduce pollution, street and basement flooding, and improve wildlife habitat, advance economic development and beautify the community.

The stormwater management project grants are administered through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are also part of Governor Quinn's $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program. They fund projects that control or reduce rain-related urban flooding. Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest construction programs in the nation, supporting more than 439,000 jobs over six years.

"These projects illustrate how green infrastructure can positively improve stormwater management concerns in urban communities," Illinois EPA Director Lisa Bonnett said. "The Blue Island projects will provide a green solution to flooding while bringing economic and environmental benefits to the area."

Governor Quinn launched the Millennium Reserve in 2012. It is a 210-square-mile opportunity to transform a region in transition, and encompasses Chicago's southeast lakefront, dozens of south side neighborhoods, and 37 south suburban communities. The Millennium Reserve partnership is committed to conservation and sustainable land use that goes hand-in-hand with healthy communities and a robust economy.

Today's announcement is part of Governor's continued commitment to investing in Blue Island and other Millennium Reserve communities. This summer, Governor Quinn committed $1.2 million in trail funding through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to help the eastern communities along the Cal-Sag Trail - Burnham, Calumet City, Dolton, Riverdale, and Blue Island - develop their portions of the trail.

The state's $1.2 million investment has leveraged $4.8 million in federal funds for the trail. The Cal-Sag Trail will be a key connector for the 100-mile loop of Southland trails that bolster recreational opportunities, eco-tourism and related consumer spending in the region. The Trail will add accessible, inviting and inspiring open space to Millennium Reserve for people and wildlife. It will also provide a safe corridor to be physically active in the outdoors for 185,000 residents who live within a 10 minute walk from the trail. Its vistas will include the industrial and cultural heritage of the region, a scenic and iconic waterway, wooded natural areas, prairie and more.

"The Cal-Sag Trail is coming to life thanks to a strong commitment from Governor Quinn," Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller said.

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