Grayslake to purchase, preserve green space near downtown to avoid further flood damage
In an effort to avoid flooding near downtown, Grayslake leaders are working to purchase and preserve 18 acres of open space in the coming weeks.
Village trustees took a step in that direction this week by approving a $16,900 contract to demolish the old building at 463 Center Street across from the Dog n Suds Drive-In. The building is on the north end of the 18 acres the village intends to buy and preserve as green space.
The land includes a large stretch of Mill Creek and is shaped like a triangle by Center Street, S. Barron Boulevard and the railway. The land does not include the businesses along the west side of Barron near the intersection with Maneval Drive or the businesses along Center Street west of the building the village plans to demolish.
Associate Village Manager Chris Sparkman said village leaders became interested in preserving the land following heavy storms in 2017 that caused widespread flooding, which revealed the importance of increasing green space in central Grayslake.
The 2017 flood was kicked off by a heavy overnight rainstorm on July 12, which inundated already saturated ground. Many Grayslake homes, businesses and institutions took on water, including the College of Lake County.
The basement of the Grayslake Heritage Center and Museum also flooded, damaging items in the Grayslake Historical Society's collection including documents, images, artifacts and textiles. The village ultimately paid $88,850 to replace the center's elevator and $129,394 in other flood-related expenses.
Sparkman said the building the village intends to demolish has been abandoned for many years. Demolition work will be done by the American Demolition Corporation, a contractor based in Elgin.
Sparkman cited other recent village projects which have added to the amount of village green space including Gelatin Park, which required the demolition of the old factory, as well as the community gardens across from the Grayslake Area Public Library.