By Shannon Madden
We’ve approved another project for the Milwaukee Avenue Green Development Corridor!
Plans for Logan Square’s Woodard Plaza incorporate several best management practices to capture stormwater from the plaza and adjacent streets while creating an engaging public space for the Logan Square community. As part of the Chicago Department of Transportation’s (CDOT’s) Make Way for People initiative, this project aims to creatively encourage people to utilize public space. Incorporating triangulation, a placemaking principle that encourages the strategic placement of amenities to bring people together, Woodard Plaza will cluster native trees and plants near bike racks, a performance space, three busy bus routes, and maybe even a future café.
To capture stormwater from the plaza and adjacent streets, CDOT will remove much of the plaza’s impervious concrete, including a short section of Woodard Street. All runoff will be directed into decorative runnels and planters, which will increase permeable space from 185 square feet to over 1,500 square feet! Native plants and trees will then capture that water, significantly reducing the plaza’s contribution to our stressed combined sewer system. All together, the plaza’s best management practices will prevent 4,434 gallons of stormwater from entering the sewer system during a 1” storm event!
The local community sees value in redesigning Woodard Plaza and plans to take care of it. The Logan Square Community Arts Center and Hairpin Lofts have partnered on the project, adding to its impact and sustainability. Local arts organizations will provide programming for the outdoor space, and nearby businesses have signed on to provide maintenance.
As an active gathering space at the busy intersections of Milwaukee Avenue, Kimball Avenue, and Woodard Street, this is also a great opportunity to showcase best management practices that can beautify our public spaces while relieving our stormwater headache. Educating the public about stormwater management is one of the highlights of this project, and since public rights of way occupy 23% of the City of Chicago’s land, the Woodard Plaza project is a great step toward designing City land for better stormwater management!
The Illinois EPA Green Infrastructure Grant will fund many of the green infrastructure components of the project, while CDOT will use other funding for the remainder of the project costs. All told, this grant will fund 8% of the total project cost. Keep an eye out for this exciting project!