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City, park district continue flooding talks amid resident concerns

Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014 1:32 a.m. CDT
Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley (third from right) on Monday tells members of the city's Public Works and Buildings Committee he believes the park district and School District 205 will end up cooperating with the city on stormwater mitigation projects. (Mari Grigaliunas - mgrigaliunas@shawmedia.com)

ELMHURST – Although the city, park district and School District 205 have not approved any of the stormwater detention projects presented by Christopher B. Burke engineering, Mayor Steve Morley is optimistic.

"I actually think that both groups will end up cooperating," Morley said at a Public Works and Buildings Committee meeting Monday.

Representatives from the Elmhurst Park Board and the city met lastweek, and the park district brought questions raised by its own engineering consultant, V3 Companies.

"V3 felt the concerns were addressed appropriately," Park District Executive Director Jim Rogers told the park board during their meeting last week.

Morley gave a similar report Monday, explaining that both engineering firms seemed to agree that any unanswered questions were the result of the plans' conceptual nature.

"We're not going to pay for the engineering if we don't have an agreement to use it," Morley said.

A group of residents are eager for a committed "yes" or "no" on the proposed project.

A petition asking the three government bodies to move faster on stormwater mitigation efforts and take action to stop flooding in the city has gathered more than 550 signatures. The petition was started nearly a month ago by Washington Street resident Tracy Fleischer after discussions with her neighbors.

"Flooding still continues to be a concern for all of us," Fleischer said during Monday's committee meeting.

A handful of other residents also attended the city's committee Monday. At a park board meeting last week, about a dozen residents commented and several letters were read regarding the stormwater mitigation plan.

"The devil's in the details, and that's where we are now," Park Board President Carolyn Ubriaco said during last week's meeting.

A handful of other residents shared their questions and concerns about how the proposed projects might adversely impact their homes or the parks during last week's park board meeting.

Public Works and Buildings Committee Chairman and Sixth Ward Alderman Jim Kennedy said communication between the city and District 205 hasn't been as extensive as conversations with the park district because District 205 may need to expand Madison Early Childhood Education Center, which is one of the sites identified by Burke.

The city's Public Works and Buildings Committee plans to prioritize the 10 projects, considering costs and how many homes will be impacted.

"Certainly I don't think the city's in a position to pay for engineering for all 10 projects, nor would it be fiscally responsible to do so," Morley said.

Kennedy said city representatives plan to meet with park board representatives again Monday.

"We want them openly to say are they in or are they out," Kennedy said.

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