On Saturday, June 26, the Village experienced a significant storm event that resulted in widespread flooding. At subsequent Village Board meetings, the Village heard comments from residents that incurred damages and losses. Photos and videos were also provided by residents, documenting the impacts of the storm event.
The Village has identified projects to help reduce flooding, each of which has its own set of challenges, costs and benefits. A summary of the Village’s storm sewer system and relief sewer projects were provided by the Village Engineer at the June 28 meeting. The Village also held a public workshop to discuss stormwater management on September 13, 2021. The MWRD also attended and contributed to the discussion.
La Grange cannot undertake significant stormwater management projects alone as we need regional partners and outlets for the water. Therefore, we are continuing to work closely with our elected leaders and partner agencies like the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD), Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Cook County, to implement regional solutions that further identified and proposed projects. On a parallel line, the Village is also participating in a regional stormwater study through the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning called the Regional Transportation Resilience Plan. President Kuchler requested additional stormwater initiatives in conjunction with the 47th and East Avenue Signalization Project and the 55th Street Reconstruction Project in letters to IDOT.
Over the last several months, the Village has continued its efforts to identify, implement, and identify funding for flood mitigation projects through legislative, legal and engineering initiatives. In addition to the 50th Street Relief Sewer Project, President Kuchler met with a number of elected leaders to discuss other flood control initiatives such as the Maple Avenue Relief Sewer, connections to the Deep Tunnel, and the inclusion of flood mitigation measures as a part of upcoming IDOT roadway projects. Specifically, President Kuchler met with top MWRD officials, as well as Illinois State Representative and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, Senator John Curran, Senator Kimberly Lightford, and Cook County Commissioner Frank Aguilar. President Kuchler also met with Congresswoman Marie Newman and a representative of the La Grange Country Club. The Village also submitted funding requests for stormwater management projects to Cook County. On September 23, President Kuchler spoke at the Cook County Board Meeting about the Village's stormwater management needs and to request funding support. President Kuchler also spoke at the Cook County Town Hall meeting on October 13 and requested funding for flood control projects. On December 10, the Village applied for a FEMA BRIC grant to help fund the 50th Street Relief Sewer Project.
President Kuchler also met with residents to discuss additional, more localized flood mitigation projects. Several of these potential ideas are being evaluated by the Village’s engineers. The Village met with School Districts 105 and 204 and the Park District of La Grange to discuss preliminary flood mitigation partnership opportunities.
In August, 2021, the Village entered into a task order with Christopher Burke engineering to provide flood mitigation options in association with upcoming IDOT roadway projects in the area. The Village also entered into a task order with Christopher Burke in September, 2021 for the analysis of four additional stormwater engineering areas including 1) school / park district coordination; 2) funding options; 3) buyout programs; and 4) immediate projects for depressional areas. The projects included in the task order were generally anticipated to be complete by the end of 2021. The results of the analysis included an application for the FEMA BRIC grant program, identification of areas of potential future study, and confirmation of previous engineering conclusions that new potential projects should be considered in the context of a larger stormwater management plan that includes maintaining or enhancing our current sewer outfalls.
The Village Board has asked the Environmental Quality Commission to study a potential resident flood mitigation / basement backup cost share program. The Environmental Quality Commission considered the matter at their November, 2021 and January, 2022 meetings. For tips on how to prevent sewer backups, please visit the Village website.
The 50th Street Relief Sewer project, was stopped and delayed due to litigation filed by Lehigh Hanson Quarry in McCook. The Village continues to be actively engaged in the ongoing court proceedings, including settlement discussions with the quarry as recently as November, 2021. A detailed status report regarding the litigation was provided at the June 28 Village Board meeting and a copy of a recent Court decision is located on the Village’s website. The Village had a status hearing regarding the litigation with the Hanson Quarry in late January 2022. The Judge has scheduled the trial in the matter to begin on July 18, 2022.
For information regarding flood resources for residents and stormwater management Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the Village website.
The Village will continue to update the community with progress. For more information regarding stormwater management and flood mitigation efforts, please visit the Village’s website.