DOWNERS GROVE – A presentation on ways in which the village can improve stormwater management is on the docket for the Feb. 13 Downers Grove Village Council meeting.
The scheduled presentation will come about two months after Village Manager Dave Fieldman outlined for the Village Council steps the village could take to lessen the impact new construction has on flooding.
Resident Jenny Garst, who has been an outspoken critic of Downers Grove’s flood control efforts, is eager to hear details of the village’s long-term flood control plans. She criticized the village at the Feb. 6 Village Council meeting for failing to prioritize stormwater management.
“All of us are committed to moving forward on this project as fast as we can," commissioner Bill White told Garst.
“I don’t believe that, and I would like to see more action. You were ready to move forward with a vote especially concerning new construction, and I haven’t heard anything else,” Garst said, recalling Fieldman’s December presentation.
White said village staff required time to analyze the flooding issue and prepare recommendations.
“How soon we vote will depend on how we react to the material [that] we haven’t read yet," White said.
October 2017 was the last time heavy rains led to significant flooding in sections of the village. But Garst and other residents repeatedly have pointed out the flooding has been an issue in Downers Grove for many years.
Garst has been one of a small number of people who regularly attend council meetings to voice concerns about flooding. She’s said previously that she wishes more people would attend meetings to keep the pressure on commissioners.
In addition to Garst, residents from the Deer Creek subdivision, which was hit hard during the October storm, have appeared before the council to demand action. Deer Creek residents hope to meet with village officials during their March homeowners association meeting to discuss potential flood relief.
“I have to tell you I’m concerned about the amount of time that has lapsed between Dec. 5 and now,” Garst said. “I’m also extremely concerned about how long it’s going to take moving forward.”
White said the time was needed to thoroughly investigate solutions to flooding. He then echoed a comment Mayor Martin Tully made recenty about residents who frequently attend council meetings to champion a cause.
“I compliment you on being here because you’re making it very clear how important this is to you, and that’s the best possible way for us to move forward as fast as possible going forward,” said White, who led the Feb. 6 meeting in Tully’s absence.
Garst did not appreciate the remark.
“I have to tell you, I resent the fact that it takes me being here to make that happen,” she said. “I think I’ve made it pretty clear that is very important not just to me, and I think others have too. And I have to tell you it feels like it’s taken for granted that we don’t show up on a regular basis in large numbers.”
She added her busy schedule makes it difficult for her to attend every council meeting.
“I’m tired,” she said. “It’s a lot for me to show up here. I wish I could show up every single Tuesday, but I can't. I feel like that’s taken advantage of. The fact that I am not here every single Tuesday, that I’m not voicing my concerns every single Tuesday, and that other people aren’t either because frankly I think a lot of people have given up. I wish more people were here voicing their concerns, but they’re not.”