On Tuesday, February 16, the City Council approved the IGA for the York Commons detention basin with a shut-off valve by a vote of 13:1 (Alderman Wagner voted Nay). The City Council also approved an amendment to their resolution authorizing the IGA – stating something to the effect that the shut-off valve is being approved even though their expert engineer Burke Engineering publicly stated the valve is unnecessary and that the approval is to satisfy the Park District. This amendment is not part of, and does not impact, the IGA itself.
According to Commissioner Graf, who attended the February 16 meeting, similar to the January 18 meeting, the Council’s discussion deteriorated into a series of highly critical remarks made by numerous members of the City Council about the Park District and Board.
Thereafter, the Park Board’s stormwater subcommittee met with the City on Thursday, February 18, 2016 in Council Chambers to continue discussions concerning the City’s request to use park property for stormwater detention. Six residents attended the meeting and four spoke during public comment. All five sites under consideration were discussed, beginning with York Commons Park.
The signed IGA for York Commons was given to the subcommittee and now that both agencies have agreed to the terms, the Park District’s engineer, V3, will work with the City’s engineer, Burke Engineering, to jointly agree on a final set of plans and specifications, as per the terms of the IGA, to move the project ahead. V3 has taken a preliminary look at the plans; staff will now direct that a full, formal review be undertaken; particularly to include the valve as part of the design.
As regards to Golden Meadows, a draft of the IGA is scheduled to be discussed at the City’s Public Works Committee on February 22, 2016 and anticipated to be presented to the City Council on March 7, 2016. To date, the District has not received the draft IGA, however, Mayor Morley stated that the Park District would receive a version on March 8. Two questions were raised during the discussions:
1) Is the Park District willing to approach the Illinois Department of Natural Resources prior to reviewing an IGA to gauge their response to an escrow account for a future land purchase for the conversion of Golden Meadows Park?
2) How much money should be placed in escrow, either the appraised value or the full 1.5 times the appraised amount?
The City indicated that the second item will most likely be included in the IGA as a proposed term of the agreement.
Finally, as it relates to the three remaining sites discussed (East End, Wild Meadows Trace and Crestview) and as a response to the City’s January 13 request that the Park District forgo replacement of and compensation for these sites and instead work with the City to ask IDNR to make an exception to their policy against off-site stormwater to OSLAD funded sites, the District subcommittee shared the following statement.
At this point in time, the Park Board is not interested in encumbering additional open space with detention basins to provide relief for the approximately 11 remaining homes that would be impacted. However, as we discussed at our last meeting on January 14, the District believes that Park and City staff should discuss alternative ideas for the three sites, similar to those the City has already utilized, including the purchase of properties, storage vaults underneath parking lots and underground storage that could provide stormwater detention as well as open space and recreational opportunities at grade level.
City was not receptive to the idea of considering alternative approaches to providing stormwater detention in these locations.
The next subcommittee meeting will be held March 24, 2016 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.