Skip to main content

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Discovering local partners, leveraging resources

The MWRD worked with the village of Mount Prospect to transform two beautiful park spaces. They can accommodate more stormwater and protect the community from flooding while giving the residents a place to gather and play.

Situated along the Des Plaines River, Mount Prospect has long recognized the need to address stormwater. In April 2013, more than five inches of rain fell over 24 hours while the Des Plaines River rose nearby. Pump stations could not keep up, and many homes were flooded. More open land for flood storage was necessary to hold the excess water.

Thanks to the foresight, planning and investment of our local partners and the intergovernmental agreements we established, we combined resources to deliver multiple benefits. Following our initial call for projects, our partners at the village of Mount Prospect stepped forward and responded with a plan that met the MWRD’s goals in addressing flooding and drainage concerns. 

The village and consultant engineers from Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. then coordinated with the River Trails Park District to create many new attractive park amenities at Aspen Trails Park and Burning Bush Park with an upgraded playground and athletic fields.

 Below the surface, however, the park spaces are making another lasting impact with millions of gallons of new storage capacity to provide flood relief within the Levee 37 interior drainage area. 

A group of people on a playground equipment posing for a photo
MWRD staff and Commissioners celebrated with partner agencies at the ribbon cutting for Aspen Trails Park in 2022.

Stormwater parks

The MWRD contributed over $3.6 million to complete two critically essential projects through our Stormwater Partnership Program. We encourage local governments and public agencies within MWRD’s corporate boundaries to apply for MWRD funding and assistance to build stormwater management projects like these. 

Burning Bush Trails Park

Euclid Avenue and Burning Bush Lane, Mount Prospect

The first project was at Burning Bush Trails Park in 2021. It included the construction of a detention basin and 54-inch pipe connection to existing storm sewers to better hold and discharge up to 4.37 million gallons of excess water during heavy rains. In addition, contractors built new athletic fields on the east side of the park, including the complete reconstruction of two baseball fields with short retaining walls for seating, new dugouts, staircases and accessible ramps. Underdrain and irrigation systems were installed throughout the basin to improve water management and conservation. 

Aeril view of sports fields that can store rainwater with a tractor mowing the grass
Aerial view of athletic fields with people walking; the field is sunken to store rainwater


Aspen Trails

1814 Maya Lane, Mount Prospect

Project partners completed similar upgrades in 2022 at Aspen Trails. Here, we built a 17-acre-feet underground stormwater detention vault beneath the park footprint. The vault is equipped to store more than 5.5 million gallons of water. Partners also installed a new storm sewer and restored curbs, sidewalks, driveways and parkways. 

A playground and baseball field in a park


A resilient future for Mount Prospect and other MWRD partners

In addition to park improvements, the Burning Bush project provides flood relief for 32 homes and facilities within the Levee 37 interior drainage area just west of the Des Plaines River. The Aspen Trails project included park upgrades, underground flood storage and associated relief sewers to provide flood relief for approximately 100 structures.

Since our initial outreach in September 2013, over 50 projects have been approved by our Board of Commissioners for our Stormwater Partnership Program. The resulting projects, distributed across Cook County, include the construction of stormwater detention facilities, storm sewers, pumping stations, and channel improvements.

The MWRD prioritizes projects that reduce flooding to nearby homes and businesses. If selected, applicants enter into an agreement with the MWRD to build the stormwater project, with the MWRD reimbursing a portion of the project’s construction cost. After the project is complete, the partner maintains it, ensuring it continually provides stormwater benefits to the community.

“The Village of Mount Prospect is extremely grateful to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and the River Trails Park District for their willingness to participate in such a unique and consequential public improvement. Without financial support from MWRDGC, and a cooperative approach to land use by RTPD, it would not have been possible to construct this much-needed stormwater improvement.”
—Sean P. Dorsey, Director of Public Works, Village of Mount Prospect

Between Burning Bush Trails Park and Aspen Trails Park, the MWRD contributed more than $4.4 million to complete these critically important projects.