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Flossmoor board to discuss alternate plan for temporary storm water storage in Heather Hill neighborhood

The Flossmoor Board of Trustees will discuss alternatives to a planned storm water detention basin near Heather Hill School at the regular meeting, 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 6.

After resident opposition developed recently to a plan for a storm water detention basin near Heather Hill School, the Flossmoor board voted 4-3 on April 15 to proceed with the purchase of property for the basin.

In a memo included in the agenda packet, village staff note that Mayor Michelle Nelson was concerned about the split vote on such a significant project and asked staff to explore alternatives to the planned basin.

The current plan is for an open dry-bottom detention basin that is expected to cost about $7.8 million. The village plans to use grant money and some funds from the 2021 bond to complete the project.

Residents who have spoken at village board, Homewood-Flossmoor Park District board and Flossmoor School District 161 board meetings in recent weeks have cited child safety concerns, loss of tennis courts near Heather Hill School and have disputed the cost-benefit rationale for the basin project.

The board will discuss two alternatives, one that would reduce the size of the basin and move half its capacity underground and one that would move all the project’s capacity underground, according to the memo. The partial underground option would add an estimated $2.5 million to the project. The all-underground option would add about $4.4 million.

The new estimates do not include some engineering costs.

If the board opts to pursue one of the alternatives, the project would be delayed a year as the village seeks more grant funding and staff would have to work with providers of grants already awarded to see if the funding can be carried forward another year.

In addition to the Heather Hill underground storage alternatives, staff included two additional options that would avoid storing storm water near Heather Hill School.

One would be to build underground storage under either the south commuter parking lot or Flossmoor Park. Both options would require a pump station and generator that would increase operating costs annually. The cost of construction would be about $12 million.

This option would address viaduct flooding but would not increase drainage capacity for the Berry Lane area as the Heather Hill basin would.

A third option would be to abandon the drainage project and attempt to direct grant money to other village projects. This option would leave flooding problems downtown and in the Heather Hill neigborhood unaddressed and could damage the village’s reputation with granting agencies, according to the memo.

Another option, to route water through Flossmoor Country Club property to Butterfield Creek, is not available. According to the memo, Nelson approached the property owner again and they were not willing to participate in the project.

Related stories:
►► Flossmoor trustees agree to buy land for storm water detention basin (April 16, 2024).
►► D161 board approves controversial storm water detention basin easement (April 8, 2024).
►► D161 board vote will decide the fate of Flossmoor drainage plan (March 22, 2024).
►► D161 board, residents question village detention basin proposal (Feb. 21, 2024).
►► Open house offers residents closer look at drainage plan (Jan. 27, 2024).
►► Letter: Flossmoor resident urges consideration of flooding relief project costs (Jan. 17, 2024).
►► Flossmoor Public Works to host information events on downtown viaduct drainage, Brookwood Bridge/Butterfield Culvert projects (Jan. 16, 2024).
►► Flossmoor Road viaduct drainage improvements project gains traction (Aug. 19, 2023).
►► Flossmoor asks parks for land for flooding project (June 26, 2023).
►► Resident raises concerns about safety, cost of Flossmoor viaduct project (June 10, 2023).
►► Flossmoor Road flood reduction plan discussed at D161 board meeting (May 24, 2023).
►► Flossmoor Road Viaduct Improvements Project proposes second phase of flood mitigation plan (May 21, 2023).
►► Village officials, residents, public works all excited about Flossmoor’s Berry Lane work (Jan. 19, 2023).
►► Groundbreaking celebrates start of Flossmoor’s Berry Lane Drainage Improvement construction (May 7, 2022).
►► Flossmoor officials debate approach, cost of viaduct flood mitigation (Feb. 10, 2021).
►► Viaduct study to examine how to solve Flossmoor’s flooding problem (June 20, 2020).
►► Friday’s superstorm: Flooded viaducts, water rescues and a rampaging Butterfield Creek (Oct. 3, 2019).

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