Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone opened the door to an overhaul of the village sewer system –in small manageable chunks – at Monday’s Village Council meeting.
“I’ve been getting phone calls and emails and I’m sure you have too,” Calderone said to his fellow commissioners. “Residents were upset,” he added that basements and back yards flooded. “There’s no magic wand the government can wave to guarantee your basement is not going to flood,” Calderone said.
But Calderone told the council he had instructed Village Engineer Christopher Burke to create a proposal to block out a plan to disconnect the village’s “combined sewer system” which he said was very typical of municipalities of Forest Park’s age.
“That was the standard system of the time and it doesn’t work anymore,” Calderone said.
Calderone told the council he had explored separating Forest Park’s system from the network of regional sewers in 2001, but the $50 million price tag was too high to consider.
“I’d like to consider a tiered-approach, or a phased-in approach, do one section of town now and systematically move to another section.”
“Break it down into baby steps,” he said.
Calderone said the project could take between five to 15 years, but “we’d be doing our community a great service.”
Calderone said the village would inevitably have to “borrow money to fund [a sewer overhaul].” He said in the past the village had raised $8 million for alley improvements with a .5 percent sales tax bump. He also floated the mechanism of a “special assessment” for Forest Park taxpayers to pay for the sewer repairs.
Calderone cited the new flood record of 11.24 feet set by the Des Plaines River last week as an example of a new era in weather patterns that may bring more flooding to the area.
“This is not easy and we certainly have empathy for the residents [whose basements were flooded],” he said.
Phony contractor warning
Commissioner Tom Mannix warned residents to beware of phony contractors who go door to door offering to clean out basements and make repairs.
“They knock on doors and try to take advantage of residents,” Mannix said.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan also warned homeowners cleaning up after last week’s storms to be on the lookout for con artists posing as legitimate contractors. The Attorney General’s Office recommends that individuals verify that contractors have insurance and permits and avoid rushing into contracts or making down payments. Residents should be especially wary of contractors who go door to door to offer their services. Anyone witnessing suspicious activities should call the consumer fraud hotline at 1-800-386-5438.
Robert Maroney honored
Forest Parker Robert (Bob) Maroney, 93, who served in the Merchant Marines during World War II, was given a certificate by the village for his participation in the Honor Flight program on April 17. Maroney and 95 other veterans were flown by the not-for-profit veterans’ organization to Washington D.C. for a whirlwind tour of the U.S. capital, including a visit to the WWII Memorial.
Maroney described the trip, accompanied by his niece Susie, as the “best time in my life.” The Merchant Marine thanked Calderone, commissioners and village staff members for “running a tight ship.”