Park Ridge is in the process of designing and constructing a “green” parking lot in an effort to manage storm water.
Park Ridge is on track to create a “green” parking lot adjacent to Park Ridge Public Library, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The City Council voted 4-2 in favor of an agreement with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) for the design, construction and maintenance of the lot.
The project will replace the existing asphalt parking lot with permeable brick pavers and other storm water management components, such as a rain garden. The process will include removing a sandy layer under the pavers and replacing the material every couple of years.
The total project cost, including design and engineering, is estimated at $1.3 million, reported the Chicago Tribune. The agreement calls for the city to pay all of the design and construction engineering costs, as well as 50% of the actual construction, with MWRD contributing a grant up to $650,000.
Park Ridge Public Works Director Wayne Zingsheim told the council earlier this year that regular maintenance will cost more than maintaining the current parking lot. A company with special equipment will be needed to clean and maintain the permeable pavers.
Regular maintenance will require keeping the spaces between the pavers clean so water can seep through. During winter months, a different type of snowplow blade will be needed to plow the lot, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“The original agreement required the city to maintain the lot in perpetuity,” said Adam Simon, city attorney. “[MWRD] agreed to shorten the term of that obligation to 25 years. Further, if the city 25 years from now wanted to redevelop that lot for economic development, we would no longer have an obligation to leave it as a green parking lot.”
Critics of the project would rather the city pursue funding for green alleys. There are concerns about the loss of parking spaces that will result and the amount of time the parking lot will be off-limits while construction occurs.
Zingsheim said construction of the lot is expected to take four months. Two additional disabled parking spaces will be added, but the lot will lose 13 spaces, reported the Chicago Tribune.