Grayslake buying more open space in effort to reduce flooding

Grayslake acquires two more properties

  • Heavy storms in July 2017 flooded the basement of the Grayslake Museum and Heritage Center, damaging parts of its collection. Last week, Grayslake leaders voted to buy more open land as a flood control measure.

    Heavy storms in July 2017 flooded the basement of the Grayslake Museum and Heritage Center, damaging parts of its collection. Last week, Grayslake leaders voted to buy more open land as a flood control measure. Courtesy of Grayslake Museum and Heritage Center, 2017

  • Grayslake leaders voted June 7 to purchase about 15 acres of open space to help reduce the likelihood of widespread, damaging floods like the one that hit the village in 2017.

      Grayslake leaders voted June 7 to purchase about 15 acres of open space to help reduce the likelihood of widespread, damaging floods like the one that hit the village in 2017. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2017

 
 
Updated 6/14/2022 5:49 PM

After heavy storms led to widespread flooding across Grayslake in 2017, village leaders committed to creating or preserving green space to help residents avoid soggy basements and ruined possessions.

In the time since, more than 40 acres have been purchased for open space and wetland preservation. Last week, trustees acquired two more sites that add about 15 acres to that total.

 

The larger parcel is 12.3 acres of open space at 34300 N. Route 83, near the Walgreens just north of East Washington Street. The other piece is 2.2 acres just east of the 18 acres the village bought last year within the large stretch of Mill Creek and is shaped like a triangle bounded by Center Street, South Barron Boulevard and the railway.

The village purchased both plots for $155,000.

"It's preserving open space and enhancing the watershed," Mayor Rhett Taylor said at the June 7 board meeting, calling the purchases assets for the village.

The village isn't the only government entity prioritizing flood prevention in recent weeks. Last month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, community leaders and Democratic legislators gathered in Waukegan to announce the state had funded 14 projects in Lake County to improve flood control.

Approved projects include engineering, design and construction of storm sewers, culverts, drainage improvements, stabilization of stream channels and use of basins to store stormwater.

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The projects are part of the Rebuild Illinois capital program approved by state legislators in 2019.

Officials hope the measures will prevent events such as the 2017 flood, which was triggered by a heavy overnight rainstorm on July 12 that inundated already saturated ground. Many Grayslake homes, businesses and institutions took on water, including 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.

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