Grant to pay for rain gardens, barrels in Champaign neighborhood
CHAMPAIGN – Money continues to flow into city neighborhoods that have dealt with flooding, this time in the form of a $6,000 grant from Illinois American Water Company.
The grant will be used to build three rain gardens on private property and give away 50 rain barrels, said Stacy James, water resource scientist for the Prairie Rivers Network.
It is the first time the annual Illinois American Water grant has been awarded in the Champaign area, James said.
"It was a project that was going to solve local flooding problems and educate the public," James said.
The group is in the process of selecting locations for the three rain gardens. The plan is to create them on private property and let homeowners maintain them, James said.
Rain gardens are designed to allow the ground to absorb more rain, which reduces the amount of storm water that enters the city sewer system. Less water in the sewers means more efficient drainage on streets and fewer flooded basements.
Fifty rain barrels will also be distributed at no cost to homeowners. Those barrels are attached to downspouts and typically collect up to 55 gallons of rainwater.
That water in turn can be used to water lawns or other landscaping, James said.