REGISTRATION SITE OFFLINE 2/14-2/15: For details, check our Bulletin Board post, below


REGISTRATION SITE OFFLINE 2/14-2/15: For details, check our Bulletin Board post, below


Drainage Diaries: Rain Gardens of Shorewood Park

2/29/24 – Drainage Diaries: Rain Gardens of Shorewood Park

A Brief History

While not a glamorous fact, Wilmette suffers from drainage issues. In the last few years, the Wilmette Park District has addressed flooding and related challenges. Who can forget the tremendous three-phase stormwater project we ventured into alongside the Village of Wilmette to address flooding in western Wilmette? We installed high-capacity stormwater tanks and infrastructure beneath Community Playfields, Hibbard Park and Thornwood Park to collect rainwater during extreme rain events and ease the burden on the sewer systems.

While this project significantly improved the issues for nearby residents, issues persist – including at Shorewood Park.

Nestled peacefully along the Green Bay Trail, this small neighborhood park offers a playground and greenspace where people can picnic, play, take a break from their bike ride, or relax in nature. However, park visitors encountered flooded play areas and lawns following significant rainfall. “The park struggled with drainage issues,” explained Superintendent of Parks and Planning Kristi Solberg. “We needed a remedy to drain the park faster and provide a dry public space for neighborhood visitors.”

Problem Solved

Borrowing from the idea of underground storage tanks, the Parks and Planning crew elected to install rain gardens at Shorewood Park. But what is a rain garden? They are small-but-mighty, below-ground storage features that collect, store, and infiltrate rainwater into the surrounding subgrade. “The idea is to hold and then eventually drain,” explains Kristi. Moisture-loving plants guide rainwater down through porous soil, where water collects and gradually soaks into the surrounding earth, effectively draining and drying the surface.

Cue, Construction

Construction crews broke ground on October 18, 2023, and installed two rain gardens during the following five days. Crews seeded the disrupted soil in preparation for spring 2024, at which time we’ll install native plants throughout the gardens to assist the drainage into the soil. We’re enthusiastically awaiting the springtime rains to see the rain gardens in action!

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