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Elmhurst 1st Ward residents worry about flood relief

ELMHURST – About 40 residents joined Aldermen Diane Gutenkauf and Marti Deuter for the 7th-annual 1st Ward town hall meeting on Thursday.

Following some updates, residents asked questions and offered opinions on a wide range of issues, from the city's focus on real estate to new businesses. But the most common concerns revolved around Elmhurst's chronic flooding problems.

"We're really pushing the city and the engineering firm [hired by] the city to ensure that any plans they have for dealing with sewer back-ups and stormwater encompass the whole city," Gutenkauf said.

Increasing the capacity of the Jackson sanitary sewer facility is on schedule for this year, she added.

Residents acknowledged the current engineering project the city is working on with the park district and District 205 to expand stormwater storage, but some worried that their homes were not included in the 10 areas the plan targets.

"None of these answers are simple," Deuter said.

A number of possible causes for flooding in residents' homes, some theorized, included new homes where the builders change the grade of the land and the possibility that some homes may forever be on the flood plane.

One point that Gutenkauf stressed was the need for residents to report flooding damage to the city. She said FEMA representatives recently have been in Elmhurst, so residents should apply for assistance as soon as possible.

"The only way the city knows where flooding occurs is if it's reported," Gutenkauf said.

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