ELMHURST – Field Elementary school reopened today after last week's storm forced the school to close April 18-19. District 205's maintenance team worked Friday along side an insurance provided company to clean and prepare the school for students today.
The building is fully operational, including the cafeteria located on the lower level, according to district spokeswoman Melea Smith. The computer lab, however, was moved to the auditorium and some paper library materials sustained permanent damage.
Emerson Elementary, Jefferson Elementary and Churchville Middle School experienced less extensive water damage, and were able to recover in time for school Friday.
Acting Mayor Scott Levin officially declared Elmhurst a disaster area on Thursday morning.
The declaration cites overland flooding, severe sewage back-up into homes, emergency personnel staffing and overwhelmed resources.
"At this time, there is no danger of Salt Creek overflowing," Levin said Thursday afternoon. "Our biggest concern is to keep all pumps operating and keep all drains clear."
Residents are urged to bring their own shovels to the Public Works garage at 985 S. Riverside Drive, the Chicago Stone Quarry at 400 W. First St. or City Hall at 209 N. York St. to fill sand bags. The Quarry is capable of holding up to 2.7 billion gallons of floodwater from Salt Creek.
Short-term emergency shelter is available at the Elmhurst Police Station at 125 E. First St., Wagner Community Center at 615 N. West Ave. and The Abbey at 407 W. St. Charles Road.
According to the declaration, all departments and agencies charged with response and recovery activities under the City of Elmhurst Emergency Management Plan were directed to respond immediately and obtain any necessary resources without City Council action. Elmhurst also requested assistance from the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Elmhurst officials met with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn Thursday afternoon to assess storm damage and discuss the next steps in obtaining state and federal aid for residents and businesses. DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin also signed an emergency declaration for the county, which allows the county to reassign employees and resources for flood response purposes without the usually required approval practices.
Residents and business owners are encouraged to take photos of damaged property and keep copies of any flood repair reciepts. Documentation will be necessary if residents or businesses qualify for FEMA aid.
Many roads in Elmhurst reopened by noon Thursday, but several were still closed or reduced to one lane Thursday afternoon, including North Avenue east of York Road to Interstate 290. Route 83 reopened Thursday evening.
Garbage pickups were canceled Thursday and will resume Friday, but next week's planned spring cleanup has been postponed.
Several schools also were closed Thursday, in addition to all after-school activities for District 205. York High School's "Tarzan" production has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday, when tickets for Thursday's performance will be honored.
For updates to this story, check back with mysuburbanlife.com/elmhurst.