Villa Park trustees consider village-wide flood plan study

VILLA PARK – The Villa Park Board of Trustees on Monday night discussed a proposal from a private engineering firm to develop a new comprehensive flood plan that will identify problem areas and prioritize future flood control projects throughout the village.

Christopher B. Burke Engineering Ltd. of Rosemont submitted an initial proposal for $110,000 to conduct the study, which would encompass the entire village outside the Sugar Creek watershed. Village trustees, in considering the proposal, requested that the firm determine how much additional money it would cost to include the Sugar Creek basin in the study.

Sugar Creek is a tributary of Salt Creek.

“I would absolutely love to see the additional third of the village included [in the cost] so we’ll have the whole picture of what this project will cost us,” Village President Deborah Bullwinkel said during the discussion.

Trustees voted unanimously to move forward with consideration, but with a caveat that village staff work with the firm to figure out a new total cost to study the entire village. Trustee Chris Aiello was not present for the vote.

The village board will make a final decision on the proposal when an updated plan, including a new total cost, is provided by the firm, Bullwinkel said Wednesday.

“In order for us to make an informed decision, we need the whole picture,” she said.

Gerald Robinson, project manager for Christopher B. Burke Engineering, said the firm has done similar studies for many other municipalities. The firm uses hydrologic and hydraulic computer modeling methods to determine existing levels of flood protection and to develop drainage improvements.

“This is a look at the overall system,” Robinson told the village board. “In order to solve the problem, we need to know how the system responds to different types of rainfall. Once we know, we start to put together proposed solutions to the problems, and come back with a final report and recommendations, as well as cost [estimates].”

There have been roughly 10 areas so far that the village has identified as areas of concern, Villa Park Village Manager Rich Keehner said.

“One of the ways to resolve those issues is to develop a comprehensive flood plan,” Keehner said. “I believe this plan is the first step to remedy these areas.”

The village plans to fund the comprehensive plan using money from both the Storm Water Buyout Fund and the Wastewater Fund. There is just less than $1 million in the two funds combined, Bullwinkel said.

After the April 2013 flooding that left many portions of the village under water, staff began gathering flood data by taking photos, developing maps of affected areas and interviewing residents. The last time the village conducted a comprehensive, village-wide flood plan was 1981.