LISLE – Despite grey clouds and early morning rain, a festive atmosphere prevailed as flood-displaced residents returned to their apartments at the Towers at Four Lakes in Lisle on Saturday.
Greeting them as they walked under a multi-colored balloon arch were Lisle Mayor Joe Broda, Marquette Management President Nick Ryan and Executive Vice President Jim Cunningham. Apartment staff handed out gift bags that included T-shirts and a $100 Jewel gift card.
While the mood was light-hearted and celebratory, most arriving residents were just glad to be home and return to their pre-flood lives.
“We were displaced for 59 days,” resident Mark Cloonan said. “It was harder than we’d thought."
Cloonan said he and his fiancée, Talia Maboum, had to live separately during the time, as she lived in Chicago with family and he stayed in the suburbs, due to the proximity to their jobs.
Some 450 units were affected by the floods April 17-18 after approximately 3.5 million gallons of water flooded the lobbies and basement levels of the two towers and a below grade parking structure at the apartment complex, 5885 Forest View Road.
The floods destroyed the buildings’ electrical system, knocking out all mechanical systems in the buildings, according to a release, which adds that no living quarters were damaged by the floods.
Stories similar to Cloonan's unfolded among the many other residents who returned to their homes Saturday, with many relying on family during the time they were displaced.
Dan Guastella, a three-year resident of the Towers, was at work in Chicago when the storm hit. Instead of going home, he went to his parents’ house. He returned to his apartment a couple of times to retrieve clothes and other possessions, but living on the eighth floor with no elevator made it difficult to take much.
Fortunately, he added, “My car was in the middle (of the underground parking levels), so it was OK.”
Not everyone was so lucky. Resident Sam Pancotto had a new car in the lower level; it had to be replaced. He now has an even newer car, one he says he actually likes better.
Pancotto stayed with friends in Oak Brook, where he “had a chance to sharpen up my golf game,” but admitted that he “missed the peace and quiet” at the Towers.
Because he left his apartment the day after the flood, Pancotto was able to pack some essentials. Others left with just the clothes on their backs.
“We left here without shoes on our feet,” Debra Schulz said.
She and her daughter Haleigh and their dog moved in with Debra’s parents. Haleigh went to school the next day wearing shoes and a Montini T-shirt she borrowed from her grandmother.
Living together was a “huge adjustment” for all of them, Debra said.
“They weren’t used to having a dog and a teenager in the house,” she explained, adding that Debra and Haleigh had to share a bed.
While the experience was frustrating, some good came of it, the mother said.
“Some people I never dreamed I could count on I did,” she explained.
That included a work associate who sent her a Target gift card “right when I needed it" and a pet carrier for her dog, who was accustomed to sleeping in a crate.
"People just showed up with things,” she said.