The village of Brookfield is seeking $135,000 in grant funding from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to help pave four commercial alleys using sustainable construction methods that would include permeable pavers.

The alleys, which would be improved in 2018 if the grant funding is approved, all run east-west and are located directly north of industrial/commercial properties along 47th Street between Eberly and Raymond avenues.

Like most of Brookfield’s alleys, those included as part of the grant application consist of gravel, and the heavy truck traffic, combined with rains — such as the heavy storms the area has experienced the past couple of weeks — conspire to make them prone to flood into adjacent properties.

The alleys can have as much as 8 inches of standing water in depressions in the gravel, which simply doesn’t drain.

“A little bit more water and you could go fishing,” said Mario Licitra, owner of Licitra Roofing Inc. at 9512 47th St. He also owns commercial property a half-block east at 9440 47th St. Both properties are located where a north-south residential alley Ts with the east-west commercial alley.

At the roofing company property, water seeps under the garage doors into the warehouse. At the property farther east, the water flooded the backyard and the basement of a building that once stood there.

Licitra’s solution at both properties was to raise the grade of the rear of each property to stop water from flooding in.

“But we still get a lot of ponding in the area,” Licitra said. “We really need that alley to get in and out. Help us out here.”

Brookfield is seeking funds through the MWRD’s Green Infrastructure Program, which assists in the construction of sustainable storm-water runoff solutions.

According to the grant application, paving the east-west alleys between Eberly and Raymond would benefit 27 commercial and residential properties. The alleys would have “permeable pavers and underground storage areas that can detain storm water onsite and reduce runoff into the storm sewer.”

Paving the alleys would also eliminate the ponding so common after rains and snow melts. The village has periodically attempted to address issues related to the gravel alleys along 47th Street, but the fixes are always temporary.

According to the grant application, the entire cost of construction for the four alleys would be about $323,000, with the village picking up about $188,000 of the cost. The village’s Department of Public Works would be charged with maintaining the alleys.

Hancock Engineering, which serves as the village’s engineering firm, has already completed preliminary engineering for the project.

The new alleys would be a combination of concrete and permeable pavers, underlain with filter fabric and a 24-inch-deep, 12-foot-wide drywell of compacted aggregate. The roughly 6,000 square feet of permeable area would be able to retain about 32,325 gallons of water, according to the application.

It would take about 10 weeks to construct the alleys, and work would begin next spring if Brookfield receives the grant funding.

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