The village was recently awarded $750,000 in federal disaster-relief funds to restore a portion of the sewer system in the area between Desplaines Avenue and Circle Avenue, and Madison Street and Jackson Boulevard.
The money came from a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and will be used to repair parts of the sewer that were damaged in recent storms. Plans include separating a section of the combined sewer system in the project area. Property owners who have experienced flooding have attributed the problem to the combined system in place throughout the village. Commissioner Mark Hosty last month seemed to support this when he attributed recent flooding problem to a “capacity issue” in the combined sewer system.
Although the money is being channeled through the state, it is part of the federal government’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which, after congressional legislation was passed in 2008, set aside $6.5 billion to help states and towns nationwide pay for disaster relief. Illinois received $169,191,249 as part of the appropriation. CDBG funds are intended primarily for low- to moderate-income communities, noted Commissioner Rory Hoskins.
Congress appropriated the money to the CDBG program following the devastation of Hurricane Ike along the Gulf Coast; storm response is specifically referred to as “Ike” money, which the village is receiving.
Mayor Anthony Calderone briefly mentioned the project at the June 27 council meeting, and Christopher Burke Engineering, Ltd. might do the work
Jim Amelio, a representative from Burke Engineering, told the council the project “will not alleviate the problem, but it waill be a step in the right direction.”
Commissioner Chris Harris asked Amelio if the money would be enough. “We will design it to budget,” Amelio responded.
The work will entail first cleaning, then separating the sewers as much as possible. It is not clear when the project will begin or how long it will take, although Hoskins said it might be 6-8 months away.
The Mayor’s Press Office did not return phone calls placed over several days.
Hoskins said the mapped-out project area is based on 2000 Census figures, and that the economic demographics of the area have changed, the current residents earning more than the persons living there 10 years ago.
“CDBG is meant to benefit low- to moderate-income families,” Hoskins said. “I suspect we’ll have a new CDBG-eligible area soon.”
Though village residents have complained about flooding, officials have noted the current impracticality of redoing the entire sewer system, which they say could cost an estimated $60-90 million.
This article has been updated to correct the boundaries of the area the sewer work will take place in.