There were 5 letters received and read as part of public comment in addition to seventeen visitors who provided comments to the Park Board. To view a transcript of these letters and comments please click on the Complete Meeting Minutes below.
Unfinished Business – Stormwater Management – York Commons Park
Commissioner Kies made a motion that the Board of Park Commissioners review the information in the board packet and the V3’s presentation, and that, given the magnitude of the request for reconsideration, no motion be made, or vote taken, until the February 11, 2015 Park Board meeting after all Board members have had the opportunity to thoroughly review the information. Commissioner Howard seconded the motion. The Board voted to bring the discussion to the table. Ayes: Commissioners Morissette-Moll, Pelosi, Spaeth, Howard, Kies, Kubiesa, and Ubriaco. Nays: none. Motion passed unanimously. Executive Director Rogers summarized the process in developing a cost comparison of using the east and west lobes of York Commons and introduced Greg Wolterstorff of V3 Engineering, who presented a slideshow illustrating the information and figures provided by Burke Engineering comparing the number of homes benefiting from the proposed detention sites at York Commons Park. The presentation was videotaped to be posted on the Elmhurst Park District website (www.epd.org). Comparisons included the number of homes relieved of flooding in a 100-year storm event, the cost of mitigation per home with the use of the west lobe only, both lobes, the east lobe only, each lobe separately or together with improved infrastructure and the use of Madison School property. The comparisons showed that using the west lobe of York Commons Park only with sewer expansion, pump expansion, and compensatory storage would provide relief to 222 homes at an increased cost of $21,600 per home when compared to using both lobes and the same expansions with compensatory storage. The Board discussed the difficult position in choosing which homes should be relieved of flooding. The cost of using the west lobe was significantly less than the east lobe as it does not have as much infrastructure and amenities, has a smaller facility and contains lower volume. Board President Ubriaco was surprised that the use of both lobes did not have a significant impact on Washington Street and asked if there was any way of knowing which homes on Washington Street would be relieved of flooding. V3 Engineer Wolterstorff did not know but made an assumption that it would be homes in higher elevations or near the perimeter. Commissioner Howard stated that a reduction of 8 inches in water levels would be welcomed by residents in the Washington area because that would be the difference of water in the front yard or the foundation. Commissioner Spaeth added that he would want to help all of the homes that are flooding and improved infrastructure would increase property values as opposed to detention areas. The impact of improved infrastructure to the number of homes is significant. Board President Ubriaco reiterated for clarification that the change in infrastructure costs would be either zero or possibly $1 million in savings if the west lobe was not used and infrastructure improvements pursued. Mr. Wolterstorff confirmed that Madison School was not included in the calculations based on the information for just the infrastructure assuming that the York Commons Park east lobe basin occurs then the additional cost is $600,000 to $1.5 million. If Madison School is rolled in, the cost decreases. If property acquisition is required for the storage, then another estimated $3.5 million would be added to the cost (based on the 13 lots required to make up the volume with an estimated $250,000 per lot). Madison School has not been part of the equation, does not change the number of homes impacted but its use shows a very slight decrease in incremental costs. Commissioner Pelosi asked if both engineering firms were interlocked with the information presented. Mr. Wolterstorff confirmed that the information presented was valid. Commissioner Morissette-Moll stated that her concern was that Washington Street residents will remain severely impacted by a stormwater event because they will not be able to eradicate to the level it needs to be eradicated because the concentration of the water depicted in the slideshow will help only homes in the perimeter of the Washington Street area. President Ubriaco said if both lobes were used 52 homes would be removed in an inundation zone in a 100-year flood but 188 would remain. If infrastructure upgrades were completed, 222 homes would be removed. The change in infrastructure to help 222 homes instead of 52 might be between zero and $3.5 million if Madison School is included and necessary property acquired for storage. Board President Ubriaco found the difference in cost and impact by using the detention basins only saddening. Commissioner Kubiesa recaptured her conversations with other Illinois park districts in cities facing the same stormwater issues. Most cities/suburbs have sought a referendum to help their community and the same was said at the national conference. She added that even if the park district would reconsider the east lobe, it would only help 52 homes. In a 50-year rain event, 80 homes at Vallette and Swain will still flood even if both lobes were used for detention. Board President Ubriaco observed that the City's prioritization list has Vallette and Swain lower on the list. Board President Ubriaco stated that she could not sleep at night knowing that she had contributed to a decision that allowed flooding to continue for a cost differential of zero to $1.5 million. The park district took on the stormwater management project because the status quo was unacceptable and wanted to help its constituents. Upgrading infrastructure is the best solution. Commissioner Morissette-Moll concurred that the City needs to go for a referendum.
It was determined that it would take the City 2 to 3 years, including the required permits and use of the west lobe at York Commons Park, to implement the improved infrastructure. The City can start now, but the true spending cost is 2 to 3 years away because of designs and permit applications. Commissioner Howard reminded the Board that the Burke report is from 2011, it flooded in 2013 and again in 2014. The City is willing to make a $15 million investment on infrastructure if the Park District allows use of the east lobe and can start immediately accelerating a benefit to 14 homes. Executive Director Rogers stated that the east lobe does not start the clock ticking on the rest of the infrastructure. Commissioner Pelosi questioned the City’s delay in applying for permits since improved infrastructure was part of the solution. Commissioner Spaeth stated that infrastructure is the only solution for these homes. The Park Board ended discussions of the proposed York Commons Park detention site to continue on to the next proposed park detention site.
Unfinished Buiness - Stormwater Management Discussion– Golden Meadows Park
Commissioner Howard made a motion that the Board of Park Commissioners review and discuss the latest information provided concerning Golden Meadows Park and maintain its current position as regards to use of the park per the City’s request. Commissioner Pelosi seconded the motion. The Board voted to bring the discussion to the table. Ayes: Commissioners Pelosi, Spaeth, Howard, Kies, Kubiesa, Morissette-Moll, and Ubriaco. Nays: none. Motion passed unanimously.
Executive Director Rogers gave a brief explanation of the status of the Park Board’s position on use of Golden Meadows Park for stormwater detention. In December, a notice was received from the IL Dept. of Natural Resources confirming that the west lobe of Golden Meadows Park that was purchased with IDNR grant funds can be used as an off-site storage detention so long as the site retains its recreational use. Prior to the Park Board approving the use of the west lobe, a matrix was provided to help the Board make a decision. On Oct. 1 at a public meeting, the Park Board was considering the east and west lobe at Golden Meadows. Some of the rationale for the west lobe at Golden Meadows Park was for perpetual use and to allow the City to use the property as it saw fit by deeding over the property. Using the west lobe is not easier but the Park Board agreed to help residents who flood on Pine Street despite the fact that it goes against the District's mission. The Park Board could have decided not to allow the city to use parkland at all but instead decided to because the Park District wants to be part of the solution which would be half of Golden Meadows Park. It is feasible to move 75 garden plots, which are a community amenity not a neighborhood amenity that can be distributed to create garden plots in various parts of the city. Relocating a full-sized soccer field is not as practical. If there was room for another full size soccer field in another, it would have already been built. East Court residents’ concerns about the loss of using the park can walk a short distance to the east lobe. No matter where the detention basin is in Golden Meadows it will still back up to homes whether in the east or west lobe. The Park Board would prefer not to have athletic fields serve as detention basins if at all possible. Board President Ubriaco commented that not one area in any of the parks would be easier than the other. Commissioner Kubiesa stated that the Park Commissioners are representative of an entire not just one area and must do what is best for it entirety. Commissioner Howard suggested residents take a look at the area in front of Courts Plus as a representation of the basin’s slope. The Board consensus was that decentralizing the garden plots was a great idea for distributing the amenity across the city and the best concept for those on Pine Street to alleviate flooding. The Park Board values the garden plots and the benefits to the community as a whole. Commissioners Kies, Kubiesa, and Spaeth concurred. Board President Ubriaco concluded the discussion.
Copies of the January 28 V3 Presentation and spreadsheet are attached below.