How You can Bring Space to Grow Home

May 9, 2016

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Too much rain can do serious damage in Chicago neighborhoods, flooding basements and pooling in neighborhood streets. Space to Grow helps address this concern through schoolyard features such as special gardens, permeable surfaces and other landscape elements that absorb large amounts of water.

Two-thirds of the funding for each Space to Grow schoolyard transformation comes from the region’s water management agencies, who are working hard to curb the flooding in the Chicago area, using a number of different approaches from building deep tunnels and reservoirs, to recreating natural processes through “green infrastructure” improvements. The latter is where Space to Grow comes in—each schoolyard can absorb and hold hundreds of thousands of gallons of rainwater during the heaviest of storms!

But did you know that you can help expand the impact of these schoolyards?

By letting rainwater and snowmelt seep into the ground right where it falls rather than rushing straight to the sewers, you can help reduce flooding by easing the load on the city’s system. Two simple things homeowners can do are install native gardens and disconnect their downspouts from the sewers. This is as easy as trimming your downspout and inserting it into a rain barrel so the water is saved instead of added to Chicago’s overtaxed sewer system.  You can use this rainwater to water your garden.

As part of our ongoing support to schools and communities, Space to Grow partners host workshops to educate community members about how they can prevent flooding at their own homes by using schoolyard features such as rain barrels and native plants.

For detailed instructions about how to install a rain barrel, watch this video tutorial, produced by Space to Grow partners Openlands and MWRD.