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County awards $80K grant to park district for green lots

WHEATON – The Cosley Zoo soon will get newer, greener parking because of a grant from DuPage County.

The Wheaton Park District was recently awarded $80,000 in grant money through the DuPage Clean Water Quality Initiative to improve a lot at the Cosley Zoo and at the new administrative building at 855 Prairie Ave. with permeable pavement.

Wheaton Park District Director of Planning Rob Sperl said the lots needed to be repaved and the district recently received a grant from the program for its work in North Side Park.

“We had success before in that program, so let’s see if we can apply and upgrade to permeable pavement over asphalt,” he said.

The new pavement will have small holes between brick filled with fine gravel that allows rainwater to pass through and be absorbed into the ground.

“When you have a normal parking lot, the water runoff gets all the stuff off of your car like pollutants and dust, and it is all carried away,” Sperl said. “Our parking lot eventually travels into Winfield Creek.”

The $80,000 grant will cover about 20 percent of the costs of the replacement, with capital development funds paying for the rest. Sperl said that the district also has applied for an Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. While it seems more expensive than asphalt, he said, it is better for the future.

“It is about 15 to 20 percent higher initially, but long-term it is cheaper. With asphalt, you have a life span of about 15 years, whereas this brick is more like 40 or 50 years, so ultimately it is a much lower-cost material,” he said. “It’s an environmentally sound and financially sound replacement.”

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