OAI – Maintaining Green Infrastructure

Green maintenance for City of Gary showcasing newly planted garden

Cardno is partnering with Opportunity Advancement Innovation (OAI), a nonprofit workforce development organization in Illinois, to help underserved and minority communities maintain green infrastructure projects.

Cardno and OAI are developing a cost share program with the goal of each community having their green infrastructure maintained annually by an experienced contractor. Located in Gary, Indiana and Blue Island, Midlothian, and Chicago in Illinois, these communities often have budget constraints, as funding for infrastructure is rarely adequate for needed maintenance.

Our teams are assisting these communities with planning so they can share the cost of maintenance labor, mobilization, materials, consultation, etc. This cost sharing will allow for these communities to pool their resources and fund a contractor to perform needed maintenance services across all participating municipalities at a fraction of the cost of each contracting the services independently.

Cardno is also collaborating with OAI and the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative to develop and provide green infrastructure training for job seekers and current municipal workers in these underserved communities. To date, Cardno has provided training on maintenance visit activities, safety, green infrastructure across different sectors, and plant identification.

We have sponsored hands-on training days and have developed specific training videos that can be shared virtually. These training videos are particularly important for underserved communities because access to reliable transportation can be a challenge. Visit this playlist on YouTube to access the full set of videos explaining the value of green infrastructure and some of the key elements involved with developing a comprehensive maintenance plan for it.