Big flood control project in Libertyville slated for early August start: 'We're excited to get it rolling'
A project to address historic flooding in south central Libertyville is almost ready to launch.
The village board on Tuesday, June 28, will consider a low bid of just over $6.41 million, which would allow the first of two phases of a project to control flooding south of Route 176 between Butterfield Road and Garfield Avenue to get underway.
Plans to significantly reduce flooding are focused on the Highlands subdivision, which was inundated by storms in 2017.
Engineers refer to the two-step process as storage and conveyance. First, a basin would be created to hold stormwater. Then in the summer of 2023, sewer lines would be replaced with larger ones to better carry it away from streets and basements.
"Huge. This is big for us," said Jeff Cooper, village engineer. "We're excited to get it rolling."
Work on the detention basin would begin on or shortly after Aug. 1. The project would encompass the entire area of Nicholas Dowden Park south of Crane Boulevard and hold the equivalent of 38.5 acres of water one foot deep.
To do that, the four existing softball fields, batting cages, a storage building and off-street parking along Dymond Avenue would be removed and improved, according to village officials. A public sidewalk along Crane Boulevard also would be added.
"The first step of the project is to provide an immense amount of volume where the water will be held," Cooper said.
The area would be excavated to a depth of six to nine feet. The ball fields would be about three feet higher than the surrounding property.
"We're lowering everything, but we're putting the ball fields (back) essentially where they are now," Cooper said.
When complete, the entire southern portion of the park could be underwater during the biggest rainfalls, he said.
The ballfield replacement/renovation is part of the stormwater project.
Design plans were prepared by the village's consultant, Christopher B. Burke Engineering. Cooper said three bids were received and opened last Friday. Campanella & Sons Inc., which has done related grading and utility projects in the village, was the qualified low bid.
The village will apply $2.75 million from a state grant toward the project. The village will receive more than $7.64 million from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for three projects in the end, including the second part of the Highlands project and the completion of a massive storm sewer improvement in the Rockland Road area to the east.
The three are among 14 flood control projects throughout Lake County being funded with an initial $30 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds that the state received.
The ballfield replacement/renovation is part of the stormwater project, but renovations are planned for the north side of Nicholas Dowden Park.
Concepts had included a "destination" playground, a new basketball court to replace one lost on the south side, two pickleball courts, a linear skate park, a native garden swale and a walking loop.
The improvements were to be made with a state open space grant. But the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has delayed the awards pushing the project to the 2023-24 budget year, according to village Administrator Kelly Amidei.