STERLING - The city earns a $1.3 million award for its efforts in revitalizing an abandoned factory.
The former Northwestern Steel & Wire brownfield site shut down in 2001. But, the city is working to turn it into an eco-tourism destination along the Rock River.
The Whiteside Co. Greenways and Trails Plan proposes a riverfront trail on the south side of the river in downtown Rock Falls, running between the Hennepin Feeder Canal Trail and the Avenue G Bridge and Lawrence Park.
The project will help filter storm water, feature a 8 foot tall vegetative wall, a wetland/pond complex to improve water quality, green roofs, cisterns, rain gardens, and a porous pavement parking lot to reduce runoff.
"Sterling has worked diligently for a number of years now to reinvent its downtown recognizing the intrinsic value borne of its location along the Rock River" says Mayor Skip Lee.
Other cities and villages like Springfield, Skokie, and Oakpark also earned cash from the Illinois EPA for their own green projects.