RainReady Blue Island
The RainReady Blue Island Steering Committee will create residential and commercial maintenance plans which include green infrastructure best practices that are fair and attainable for all Blue Island Residents.
The City of Blue Island is a regional leader in stormwater management through green infrastructure, and Western Avenue, the City’s main arterial road, is poised for a renaissance thanks to the new Business Development District. The path forward for the community includes home upgrades to reduce flooding and a community-wide beautification effort to capture stormwater where it lands.
Blue Island’s famed trains and crossings bring railroading tourists from all over the world. The city, located just 16 miles south of downtown Chicago, has long been a significant industrial and transportation center. Throughout its history, Blue Island has boasted thriving railroads, breweries, and brickyard industries. At one point, Blue Island was considered the brick-making capital of the world.
Like many of its neighbors, Blue Island has been plagued by chronic floods for years. From 2007 to 2011, 469 flood-related insurance claims were filed in the 60406 zip code, with more than $1,279,191 paid out in damages. Residents suffer a mix of basement backup, street and yard flooding, and foundation seepage.
RainReady Blue Island Steering Committee
Community leaders joined together in 2016 to form the RainReady Blue Island Steering Committee. The Committee is particularly focused on advocating for a robust and transparent maintenance plan to guide investments to both private property and the City’s infrastructure. They will also work to beautify vacant land and increase the community’s responsibility to its elderly and homeless residents.
What We’ve Found
Residents report flooding across town, and say they are ready to take action to address it!
What would a RainReady Blue Island look like?
Bring back Blue Island’s residential cost-sharing program to help homeowners recover from past storms and prepare for future storms. Under this program, residents would receive financial support for a complete home inspection and improvements targeted to reduce flood risk, like check valves, overhead sewers, and a rain garden.
WESTERN AVENUE BEAUTIFICATION
Western Avenue is slated for improvements thanks to local leadership setting up the Business Development District. The City should continue its practice of incorporating green infrastructure (planter boxes, tree plantings, and bioswales) into upcoming improvements to Western Avenue. These types of improvements will beautify the corridor and reduce runoff to the local sewers.
The northeast neighborhood of Blue Island, often referred to as “the bowl,” has been known to flood for decades. The City of Blue Island has succeeded in securing numerous grants and partnerships that are dedicated to reducing flooding and beautifying the neighborhood. With support from MWRD, a coordinated investment in green and grey infrastructure is expected to occur in 2017.