East Dundee officials exploring options to alleviate flooding
East Dundee Village President Jeff Lynam is keeping a close watch on the Fox River.
Though the river is not near flood stage, he said a few more heavy rainfalls could bring higher water levels, leaving the village's riverfront at risk. In the last 21 years, the river has overflowed its banks at least four times.
"When it overflows its banks, it's a real mess," Lynam said. "We really need to figure out a way to hold back the water."
On Monday morning, Lynam walked the downtown area and the riverfront with U.S. Rep. Sean Casten in the hopes of finding a partner, and some federal funding, to address flooding and help with other projects. Though no federal funding was promised, Lynam remained hopeful the village would find help in addressing flooding issues.
"That's really where we need the help," Lynam said.
Lynam on Monday suggested the village would want to build a breakwater, or a cement wall, along the length of the shoreline through East Dundee to help hold back floodwaters from the river. North of Route 72, a few businesses and homes have been affected in the past, but Lynam said flooding is worse south of Route 72, where several homes are on the riverfront.
He estimated building a wall or breakwater to keep floodwaters at bay would cost $40 million or more.
Casten, whose district runs along the Fox River, talked Monday about a proposed change in the federal flood insurance program that would take a different look at repetitive flooding issues. Under the proposed changes, the federal insurance program would look at the benefit of repairing a home that has suffered repeated flooding versus relocating to higher ground.
Casten acknowledged details still have to be worked out, but the change could be key in helping restructure the program and eliminating some of the debt created by repetitive losses.
"We know we have to fix the flood insurance program," Casten said.
Casten also talked to Lynam and Village Administrator Erika Storlie about other projects, including the possible redevelopment of the Haeger Pottery property along the Fox River south of Route 72 and a parking deck in the downtown district.
The village recently applied for federal funding for a downtown parking deck project estimated to cost $5 million. East Dundee has attained a $600,000 grant from the state and $400,000 in federal money through the American Rescue Planning Act, according to a village document.
The project would include the construction of a parking deck at 110 N. River St. and turning an existing gravel lot in the downtown district into green space. The parking deck would add 100 parking spaces to the downtown area.