After receiving more than $500,000 in grant money from the Illinois Environmental Agency to construct two “green” alleys and a “green” parking lot, the village of Riverside announced in late December that it is seeking $847,000 more to create a second green parking lot in the downtown area.
Village Manager Peter Scalera said on Dec. 19 that the village has sought another grant from the IEPA through the Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant program in order to convert the main commuter parking lot near the downtown train station from asphalt to permeable pavers.
The total cost of the improvement is expected to be just shy of $1 million. The village has asked the IEPA for a grant that would cover 85 percent of the cost, leaving the village to come up with the remaining $150,000.
The main commuter parking lot is scheduled for repaving in 2013, according to the village’s five-year capital improvement program. The village had budgeted $165,000 for that work.
According to Scalera, the application included the original portion of what is commonly known as Lot 1, which includes 92 spaces. The extension of Lot 1, which runs behind the Riverside Swim Club is not included in the grant request.
Instead of going ahead with a simple asphalt resurfacing project, however, Scalera said seeking the grant for the green parking lot fits with the village’s commitment to sustainable infrastructure projects.
“Eventually, the goal is to move all of our lots to green lots,” said Scalera. The village operates 10 parking lots in and around the downtown area.
The construction of a green parking lot at 61-63 E. Burlington St. next spring will push the number of village lots to 11. The push to build green lots will extend to “any parking surface” the village operates, said Scalera.
Riverside is in direct competition for green infrastructure with neighboring Brookfield. In November, Brookfield officials announced they were seeking $665,000 to construct a green parking lot at their village hall complex.
Riverside, BNSF in talks over lot
Meanwhile, village officials are working with the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad as Riverside puts the finishing touches on its plan for a new parking lot at 61-63 E. Burlington St.
Scalera said the village is trying to decide whether to buy or lease railroad right-of-way directly north of the tracks in order to enlarge the parking lot, most of which would be a green parking lot funded by an Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant awarded earlier this year.
The village’s site plan for the lot, which was unanimously approved by the Riverside Plan Commission on Dec. 15, includes the strip of land. Including the railroad right-of-way would add 10 parking spaces to the proposed lot. Without it, the lot would have just 18 spaces.
“My preference is to purchase it, so the village will control it and have greater flexibility with the use of the lot,” Scalera said.
Scalera said the village would like to put the project out for bid by early spring, with construction commencing by late spring or early summer.
According to the plan, the design includes the use of permeable pavers on all but the railroad right-of-way.
The western border of the lot would feature a rain garden to help collect storm water and the lot would also be shaded by five new ornamental trees, three new shade trees and one existing shade tree that is being worked into the site plan.
Lighting was not included in the grant application and will have to be funded, along with any electric car charging stations, through a future grant.