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Village trustees approve studies for comprehensive flood plan

VILLA PARK – The Villa Park Village Board of Trustees took several steps Feb. 10 to move forward with a comprehensive flood plan, starting with the first study done on the village’s flood plain since 1983.

The village board voted unanimously to approve contracts from Christopher B. Burke Engineering Ltd. and V3 Engineering to conduct studies that will identify problem areas and prioritize future flood control projects throughout the village.

Burke, of Rosemont, submitted a proposal for $110,000 to conduct a study that will use hydrologic and hydraulic computer modeling methods to determine existing levels of flood protection and to develop drainage improvements. The study will encompass the entire village outside the Sugar Creek basin.

V3, of Woodridge, submitted a proposal of $69,735 to conduct a study of the Sugar Creek basin and will include flood routing information, inundation maps and proposed mitigation alternative. The study will focus on Addison Street north of Madison Street, Jackson Pond, Lufkin ponds, the 800 block of South Michigan Ave. and areas near Terry Lane.

“This study will take a closer look at low-lying areas where you see a lot of residential flooding and structure damage,” Derrick Martin, water resources group manager for V3, told trustees Monday night.

The two studies, along with a combined sewer study being conducted by RJN Associates, will be compiled and given to the village’s public works department once completed. Study costs will be divided between the village’s Storm Water Buyout Fund and the Wastewater Fund, which in total has about $1 million.

Once the studies are finished, staff can then begin working on prioritizing projects, Villa Park Public Works Director Vydas Juskelis said. The large part of any project will entail expanding detention areas or putting the water underground, he added.

“You need to find a place to put the water,” Juskelis said.

The village is considering implementing a Stormwater Utility Fund, which would provide a dedicated source of funding for stormwater projects. Under the fund, all properties in the village would pay a stormwater utility fee based on the demand that their property places on the stormwater management system, according to the proposed plan.

The fee, calculated about $5.45 annually, would be an alternative to raising property taxes or cutting services. A credit program would also be implemented to recognize efforts made to reduce impact on the village’s drainage system, with up to 50-percent reductions, according to the department.

If adopted, all funds would be used for projects addressing problems solely in Villa Park, village manager Rich Keehner said. Village staff has been sharing the stormwater utility proposal brochure with local businesses and school districts and soliciting feedback, Keehner 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.

Villa Park President Deborah Bullwinkel appealed to residents for additional feedback as the village moves forward with its flood studies.

“Some of the pictures that have been up in the board room show a very small snapshot of what we’re discussing tonight,” Bullwinkel said. “If there are any residents out there that want to participate in the process, come to our meetings or give the staff a call.”

Villa Park resident Leonard Sutkevich, who lives in the 800 block of Harvard Avenue, talked about the flooding issues he has had on his property for more than five years.

“My sump pump is working all the time now,” Sutkevich told the board. “The people who think this [plan] is not a good idea in our community, if the power goes out and we have flooding, you’re house is gone. We have got to do something.”

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