Peoria is a mid-size city of 116,000 people situated on the banks of the Illinois River. The city’s combined sewer system regularly overflows, sending polluted stormwater and untreated sewage into the Illinois River. Peoria is working with the EPA to eliminate these combined sewer overflows, and hopes to be the first city to do so with 100% green stormwater infrastructure.
Green Stormwater Infrastructure Pilot
Greenprint Partners met with community representatives and identified an opportunity to develop green stormwater infrastructure that offered the neighborhood access to healthy, local produce, new career training opportunities, and a safe community gathering space. We secured a USDA NRCS grant to design and build an innovative “stormwater farm” demonstration project.
Design includes a hybrid poplar stormwater forest, 100 raised garden beds that are home to an urban agriculture apprenticeship program, flowering bioswales, and space for public gatherings. A public groundbreaking took place in October 2017, and the site officially opened to the public in June 2018.
The Well Farm is the winner of the 2019 U.S. Water Alliance U.S. Water Prize, the 2019 Illinois Green Alliance Emerald Award, and the 2019 Sun Foundation Making Waves Award.
2016 to present
Transform 1.6 acre vacant
lot into working stormwater farm
Impact-driven Site Selection
As one of the 100 poorest zip codes in the nation, Peoria’s south side is home to the city’s most concentrated minority and low-income population. It is Peoria’s largest food desert, as well as the neighborhood most impacted by flooding and combined sewer overflows.
We have regular guidance with community stakeholders and advisors, including public meetings in which neighbors provide input and feedback as the project progresses.
In addition to community outreach & educational programs, we partnered with a faith-based urban agriculture nonprofit, The gitm Foundation, to train youth and adults to cultivate, harvest and sell fresh products locally, and will work with City of Peoria to launch a green infrastructure maintenance job training program.