The MWRD is providing $1.6 million for a $2.16 million project to resurface all of the asphalt parking lots (shown above in red) at the North Riverside Village Commons campus with permeable pavers, diverting some 200,000 gallons of storm water away from the sewer system during rain events.

The village of North Riverside will convert all of its parking lots at the Village Commons campus from asphalt to permeable pavers this summer after the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago selected the village’s project for its 2023 Green Infrastructure Partnership Program.

The MWRD is contributing roughly $1.6 million of the $2.16 million required to perform the work, with the village responsible for $545,000 of the cost.

According to Village Engineer John Fitzgerald, “The intent is to reduce storm water runoff by storing, infiltrating and evaporating storm water within the permeable paver system.”

When it’s complete, the areas paved with the permeable surface will be able to divert a combined 200,000 gallons of water from the village’s sewer system by detaining it in a roughly 17-inch rock base topped by bricks.

“The purpose is to reduce flow into the village’s system to reduce basement backups, street flooding and overflow into the Des Plaines River,” Fitzgerald said.

It’s the first major green infrastructure project for North Riverside.

“This is just step one in what my vision was for going green and modernizing our public buildings,” said Mayor Joseph Mengoni.

According to Mengoni, village officials are exploring other green initiatives such as installing electric vehicle charging station in municipal parking lots.

The areas to be repaved at the Village Commons campus include both the small front lot and large rear parking lot, the large parking lot in front of the police department as well as a smaller police-only parking lot closer to the building, a strip of 15 asphalt parking spaces for fire department use and a dozen spaces near the public works building.

In all, the village and MWRD are partnering to repave about 71,000 square feet of impervious parking lot, about 1.6 acres, with permeable pavers, roughly 17 percent of the main campus area.

“It’s as if we’re taking out the asphalt and putting grass in there – that’s the impact,” Fitzgerald said.

The plan is to seek bids and award a construction contract by the end of May, said Fitzgerald, with work beginning in June. If all goes according to schedule, the work could be wrapped up by the end of August.

Construction will be phased so that there will be access to parking at all times, said Fitzgerald, who estimated that the rear Village Commons lot would be the first to break ground.

“The beauty is that the Village Commons [campus] is all connected, so parking shouldn’t be a problem,” he said.

The asphalt parking lots will be excavated to a depth of about 20 inches and backfilled with three distinct stone layers, along with an under-drain system set higher up in the stone base.

While permeable paving is more expensive than asphalt pavement, it has benefits beyond diverting storm water runoff from the sewer system. Asphalt parking lots typically need repaving every 15-20 years, while paver lots may not need repaving for double that amount of time.

The village submitted its application for MWRD funding last September and was notified of the award in late December. The MWRD reported receiving 34 project applications.