Oak Park gets Rain Ready with new grant program

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Snow flurries are steadily falling outside as I write this article but that doesn’t change the fact that rain season is right around the corner, and it’s never too early to get your property prepared. Starting today, you can apply to get ahead of issues like flash flooding and sewer backups through a new grant program called RainReady Oak Park.

RainReady Oak Park will help homeowners pay for smarter landscaping approaches that are better suited to 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, according to a news release from the Village.

In order to be eligible to apply, 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, and be able to maintain the landscaping improvements for a minimum of three years.

Oak Park residents interested in applying may do so online at surveygizmo.com or by filling out a paper application at the Neighborhood Services Division in Room 214 at Village Hall, 123 Madison St. The deadline to apply is April 1, according to the news release.

The Village of Oak Park is no stranger to flash flood season, and the new program will be a welcome solution for many homeowners. The spring and summer of 2017 led to some issues, but not quite as bad at what Oak Parkers experienced in 2011 when 163 homes had flood damage.

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, according to the news release.

The program is funded by the Village of Oak Park and administered by RainReady, an initiative of the Center for Neighborhood Technology. To review the FAQ flyer online, visit rainready.org.

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