Flood relief projects in Arlington Heights get federal and state funds

  • U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky joined Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes, center, and Public Works and Engineering Director Cris Papierniak Monday to announce the award of federal funds for a stormwater control project.

      U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky joined Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes, center, and Public Works and Engineering Director Cris Papierniak Monday to announce the award of federal funds for a stormwater control project. Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted4/19/2022 5:10 AM

Arlington Heights officials are embarking on their next set of stormwater control projects while touting the federal and state grants that are helping to defray local costs.

Village trustees Monday night awarded a $6.5 million contract for flood relief efforts in one part of town, just hours after U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky joined Mayor Tom Hayes for a village hall news conference announcing a $600,000 federal earmark for a stormwater project in another part of town.

 

The planned upgrades this year and next will mark the fourth and fifth major flood control projects undertaken in the village since 2019. They were deemed highest priority of 17 possible projects identified following a series of studies and prompted by a massive July 2011 storm.

"We've had more and more unusual storms of late, so flooding has probably even gotten worse," said Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat whose 9th Congressional District includes a portion of Arlington Heights. "There have been so many communities that have really suffered with flooding, but I know that the Race and Chicago Avenue neighborhoods here in Arlington Heights have really faced a particular problem over and over again."

In total, the $600,000 federal appropriation for underground stormwater detention vaults and new storm sewers near Race and Chicago avenues represents the largest award in Schakowsky's district for this round of funding. In total, her office secured $3.4 million for 10 organizations, out of 63 municipalities, schools and nonprofits that applied last year.

Under a 75/25 cost-sharing formula, the village will be responsible for picking up the rest of the estimated $800,000 total cost. Schakowsky added that there was a better chance for local towns to get the federal funds if they could guarantee such a cost-sharing partnership.

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Later Monday night, Hayes and the village board unanimously approved the $6.5 million construction contract for storm sewer improvements, backyard drainage upgrades, roadway reconstruction and water main replacement in the Berkley Square subdivision in and around Raven Park.

The project includes the addition and replacement of large-diameter storm pipes that will divert floodwater to a new storage basin on the west side of Raven Park. Proposed roadwork includes the reconstruction of Burr Oak Drive, Burning Tree Lane and Highland Avenue from Hintz Road to Berkley Drive.

The village previously received $1 million from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for the project.

The federal and state funds, along with a $1.8 million Metropolitan Water Reclamation District grant, have helped pay for the stormwater and related road projects, which to date total $23 million.

But most of the stormwater costs are covered through $10 million the village borrowed in a bond issue in 2018; the principal and interest are being covered by a $6.25-per-month stormwater utility fee. Property taxes are paying for the road portions.

"Any type of funding we can get might bring another project up, as opposed to unfunded," said Cris Papierniak, the village's director of public works and engineering. "That's the key. That's why the grants and everything we can get we're so excited to have. We apply for as much as possible."

The work near Raven Park is scheduled to begin in June and conclude in December.

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