Grayslake is first Lake County community to offer rebates for Conservation@Home program

  • Mary Fortmann, sustainable landscapes coordinator for Conserve Lake County, right, consults with a property owner as part of the Conservation@Home program. Grayslake has become the first community in Lake County to offer rebates to property owners who participate in the program.

    Mary Fortmann, sustainable landscapes coordinator for Conserve Lake County, right, consults with a property owner as part of the Conservation@Home program. Grayslake has become the first community in Lake County to offer rebates to property owners who participate in the program. Courtesy of Conserve Lake County

 
 
Updated 5/28/2015 11:18 AM

Grayslake has boosted its roster of eco-friendly rebate programs with cash for those interested in improving their local landscape.

By adding Conservation@Home to its list, the village also becomes the first municipality in Lake County to sponsor the not-for-profit program, run locally by Conserve Lake County.

 

"They have a lot of conservation-friendly champions in the village and enough of them expressed interest in doing more," said Sarah Surroz, conservation and outreach director for Conserve Lake County.

Village officials set aside $2,750 in the current budget for Grayslake residents to participate. Residents will be reimbursed $25 for an initial consultation and up to $250 for any eligible property improvements on a first-come, first-served basis.

About 700 properties have participated and about half became certified in the Conservation@Home program since it was introduced in Lake County four years ago, Surroz said. The program is about 10 years old and also operates in Kane, DuPage, Kendall, Will, LaSalle, DeKalb, Grundy and McHenry and portions of Cook counties.

"In a nutshell, it's a program that supports sustainably landscaping and stewardship," she said. "The process starts with an expert assessment and recommendations for property owners to make their environment more conservation friendly."

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Protecting existing native plants and incorporating new ones, identifying and controlling invasive species and conserving water are among the basic objectives.

"I've worked in Lake County since 1985 and never seen an education program this powerful. They're getting ideas for projects that work for them," according to Surroz.

The idea is to create an attractive landscape that reduces or eliminates the use of chemicals and provides a habitat for butterflies, birds and other wildlife.

"We felt this would be a program that would complement the other programs we have," said Kevin Timony, assistant to the village manager. The program will be promoted in the upcoming village newsletter and on its website, he added.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Conservation@Home is new for Grayslake but the village for several years has offered various green initiatives for residents.

A lawn mower rebate program for example, helps reduce air pollution by reimbursing residents up to $100 of the cost of electric, battery or manually-operated mowers to replace the gasoline-powered models. The village's neighborhood partnership program supports larger scale beautification efforts. The village also provides reimbursements for rain barrels and compost bins, trees and sidewalks.

During the last budget year, 108 residents or neighborhoods participated in village rebate programs, according to Timony. On weekdays and Saturdays, the village accepts a variety of materials for recycling at its public works facility, at the end of Berry Avenue, east of Route 83.

@dhmickzawislak

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