Community Member

Floodlothian Midlothian

Midlothian, Illinois

Floodlothian Midlothian began in 2014 as a group of just five households advocating for very personal flood relief in Midlothian, a suburb of Chicago, IL. Because of poor city planning, these people’s homes had been flooded 15 times in 20 years, and the flooding got even worse after that. They began documenting the flooding, found the source in a creek 10 blocks away, attended city meetings and land development hearings, and marched in matching rain gear in parades. They even convinced their fellow citizens to overwhelmingly vote out their unsupportive mayor as well as several trustees. By 2015, Floodlothian Midlothian had connected with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, which agreed to develop a nearly $9 million project to reduce flooding in Midlothian and its neighboring city, Oak Forest. Floodlothian Midlothian wants to continue to apply its passion and inexhaustible energy to seeking environmental justice and developing nature-based flooding solutions.

Theda Reed, one of the founders of Floodlothian Midlothian, stands in floodwaters.

Floodlothian’s mantra is “We’re not going away until it’s clear there’s something happening.” It became clear in November 2018 that something was indeed happening when the ground was officially broken on the MWRC project to enlarge culverts, widen offending channels, and improve flood water detention. The organization, now a group of over 250 led by Helen Lekavich, harnessed its momentum to do even more by joining with the Center for Neighborhood Technology – an “innovations laboratory for urban sustainability” –  to make Midlothian the first RainReady Community. In 2016, the village of Midlothian adopted CNT’s RainReady plan. It includes changes to both public and private property, including flood protection retrofitting, green space along the historically flooding creek, and trees and rain gardens in the village. While the MWRC improvements will protect 240 buildings, the RainReady plan should increase sustainability for the village of about 15,000 residents.

For more information:

Flood control work gets underway in Midlothian – Oak Forest, Chicago Tribune, November 2018

The Suburb That’s Reinventing Resilience,, January 2016

Floodlothian Midlothian makes waves in 2015 – Metropolitan Planning Committee, January 2015

Midlothian Residents Fed Up With Chronic Flooding – CBS Local Chicago, July 2014

A2 Staff

A2 Staff

This profile was compiled by a dedicated team of staff members who conducted interviews and gathered information from various outlets, including news articles, social media, and other sources.


Helen Lekavich

Social Media

Climate Impacts



Halting Bad Development, Nature-Based Solutions

501c3 Tax Deductible


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