There were two letters received and read as part of public comments and fourteen visitors provided comments to the Park Board. To view a complete transcript of these letters and public comments please click on the Complete Board Minutes attached below.
Unfinished Business - Stormwater Subcommittee Recommendation
Executive Director Rogers gave a report of the subcommittee’s meeting on October 13 held at City Hall. Park District representatives gave a summary of the October 1, 2014 Public Meeting held at The Abbey. The City reported that they were holding an additional Cayuga resident meeting that evening on October 13 and a city-wide stormwater meeting on October 15 to provide a broad-based overview of the issue from a city-wide perspective followed by five or six geographic region breakout sessions. A brief discussion was held on the intergovernmental agreement. The City was informed that should the Park District reach a decision to work with the City on stormwater, more time will be spent on drafting the IGA. The Park District’s attorney has given the draft a brief overview and recommended that edits will be required should the Park Board agree to work with the City on stormwater.
Executive Director Rogers presented considerations from the Stormwater Subcommittee’s in response to the City of Elmhurst’s formal request for use of York Commons and Golden Meadows parks for stormwater detention. The presentation included a background of the issue beginning in 2013, the process involved including the appointment of Park Commissioners to the Stormwater Subcommittee to address the issue, and several Board meeting discussions. The Park Board established three criteria in evaluating the potential use of each of the parks for stormwater detention. The evaluation criteria were – that the Park Board would try to help the City meet the community’s stormwater needs if possible; ensure that the park sites, if used for detention, retain their recreational function; and that any use of the parks for stormwater detention sites not adversely impact residents living in proximity to the parks. Using the evaluation criteria as a guide, the subcommittee developed the following list of items for consideration by the Board.
In consideration for entering into an intergovernmental agreement that will, in perpetuity, alter and/or encumber open park space, the City agrees to extend the term of the shared Maintenance Facility lease that currently expires in 2029 until February 28, 2108 to coincide with the City’s lease of property on York Commons for Fire Station #2.
The Park District agrees to allow the City to utilize the west portion of York Commons Park (along York Street) to provide a stormwater detention basin with a capacity of approximately 8 - 10 acre feet in order to address the overland flooding concerns that exist for residents of Crescent Street.
In exchange for the use of York Commons as proposed, the City agrees to construct, at no cost to the Park District, one (1) basketball court and two (2) sand volleyball courts in accordance with the Park District’s York Commons Master Plan.
The York Commons storage facility is only one component required to solve flooding in the Southwest Study Area. The City of Elmhurst commits to accomplishing the recommendations within the Comprehensive Flooding Plan Report for the remainder of the Southwest Study Area.
The Park District agrees to allow the City to utilize the west portion of Golden Meadows by subdividing the property and deeding the western portion (approximately 3 acres) to the City to provide a stormwater detention basin with a capacity of 15 plus acre feet in order to address the overland flooding concerns that exist for residents of Pine and Avon Streets. However, because Golden Meadows Park was acquired using Land and Water Conservation Funds the property must be replaced with property of equal or greater value.
As a result, in exchange for deeding over the western portion of Golden Meadows as proposed, the City agrees to acquire property, subject to approval by the Park District, of equal or greater value, to replace the western portion of Golden Meadows and also agrees to assist the Park District in relocating the garden plots that will be displaced.
Following the presentation by Executive Director Rogers, Commissioner Spaeth gave brief remarks about the process involved in making the recommendation. He stated that he would prefer the City improve its infrastructure in lieu of using the parks for detention as the area has vast needs that York Commons cannot accommodate. He noted that in order to alleviate flooding in the Vallette and Swain area, and the Washington Street area, the sewer and pumps must be increased. The Park District is making significant sacrifices for the good of the community. He agreed that Golden Meadows is a good recommendation. Commissioner Spaeth requested a shutoff valve to stop continued input into the York Commons basin be included in the recommendation to the Park Board. With that said, Commissioner Spaeth made a motion that everything in the presentation given by Executive Director Rogers be approved with the caveat of a shutoff valve and other minor safety precautions such as steel poles and fencing surrounding the entire basin. Park Board President Ubriaco requested Commissioner Spaeth repeat his motion and Commissioner Kies seconded the motion. Commissioner Howard requested the motion be summarized.
Commissioner Kubiesa made a motion to dismiss Commissioner Spaeth’s motion as the item requires further discussion and to allow the Stormwater Subcommittee other member, Commissioner Howard, to address the Board. Commissioner Howard seconded Commissioner Kubiesa’s recommendation to dismiss Commissioner Spaeth’s motion. Following discussion regarding the appropriate parliamentary procedures to be used, Commissioner Spaeth then withdrew his motion. Commissioner Kies withdrew her second to Commissioner Spaeth’s motion.
Commissioner Howard pointed out that he does not agree that fencing is needed for the potential detention basin in York Commons because currently there is no fencing in the detention basin located in Plunkett Park and at the Berens Park sled hill. He requested Commissioner Spaeth clarify the lack of difference between a 5-, 10- and 15-year water detention and the 50 to 100 year detention. Commissioner Kubiesa asked for a clarification of the basin's capacity to the rain storm years in relation to depth. Engineer Wolterstorff stated that the basin's volume would not change but the elevation in the surrounding storm sewer feeding into the basin would. The size, shape, and depth of the basin would not change whether it takes a 5, 25, 50 or 100 year storm event. The issue is when water will start to come in. Commissioner Kubiesa asked if the basin can be reengineered once built. Engineer Wolterstorff said yes, by setting the elevation differently which then forces water into the basin by changing the elevation of the weir. Kubiesa asked how many homes would benefit from a 5-year and 50-year rain storm. Engineer Wolterstorff stated that those figures change depending on the area but the City has provided information breaking out each of the neighborhoods that flood along that street’s sewer system. The number of homes benefitting depends on their location in the downstream neighborhood. As an example, Crescent and Cambridge has three homes that are impacted by the 25-year storm event and 10 homes that are impacted at the 50-year storm event, but looking at an aggregate of all of the neighborhoods down that system, there are actually 5 homes on Swain and Vallette that are impacted by the 5-year and 20 homes between the Washington Street area and Swain and Vallette by the 10-year storm event and it continues up from there. Total impact then for those three neighborhoods is 195 homes at the 100-year storm event. It comes down to the elevation chosen to put water into the basin and whether that is an impact or benefit to the neighborhoods along the line. Commissioner Kubiesa asked if underground storage can be added after the basin is built. Engineer Wolterstorff said yes, it could be adjacent, under other areas or under the streets. Portions of the City infrastructure plans will be underground storm system.
Executive Director Rogers stated that the north side of the basin in Plunkett Park is a good comparison to the depth the York Commons basin would look like. The basin at Plunkett Park is 6 to 8 ft. deep at the south end and 4 ft. near the playground. The slope down to the deepest point in the basin is from 32 to 40 ft. from the parking lot curb. Currently, the west lobe at York Commons is a bit of a detention basin now as it is a bowled area with a storm drain in the middle and could continue to function as it does now. Commissioner Kubiesa stated that if safety is a concern, the Park District could ask the City to monitor the detention basin when it is in use.
Commissioner Spaeth inquired on the depth of Elmhurst College's fenced-in basin on Park Avenue and Prospect. Executive Director Rogers stated that the basin is much deeper with no slope hence the need for fencing. Commissioner Kies asked how many feet it was to the deepest end for the proposed basin in York Commons. Engineer Wolterstorff stated that the side slopes would drop 6 ft. each 24 ft. length, which is a 4 to 1 slope; the descending feel would be similar to the Plunkett Park basin slope.
Commissioner Spaeth stated his concern for safety when the basin is full of water posing a threat of overflow to homes in the York Commons quarter as it is currently difficult to get water to drain. The sewers cannot handle the capacity and may back up more if the sewers are not updated. The basin absolutely must have a shutoff valve because of the uncertainty of what will happen when it overflows.
Executive Director Rogers asked V3 Engineer Wolterstorff if a shutoff valve could be engineered so that water from Crescent can come into the park until "x" point and engineered to stop at a set point. Engineer Wolterstorff said it is a non-traditional concept and would take a mechanical system. A sort of sluce gate design with a mechanical system or a pump station that actually draws water out of the adjacent storm system and pumps it into the basin. Commissioner Spaeth added that every pump house he visited along the creek has an automated valve to shut the gravity flow off and flip the pump on and that engineering the shutoff valve may cost more, but protecting homes in that quarter and allow vehicles through York Street is vital. The cost of putting a few poles in and fencing around the basin would be a positive addition to the recommendation.
Commissioner Kubiesa summarized her understanding of the subcommittee’s recommendation that the District would only allow the west lobe of York Commons with a shutoff valve so when that’s full it’s full. Crescent may still have water but it may prevent it from going into the basement. Cayuga won't get water unless it is a catastrophic flood. If the basin overflows because the shutoff valve is not working but the rain is still coming down then it’s just an act of nature; the Park District would have done everything to assist in preventing flooding in this part of town leaving the District with an addendum for underground storage or a larger pipe, but if we suggest a 5 or 10 year there would be no need.
Commissioner Pelosi agreed that a shutoff valve is important to have in place and asked if the park would be suitable for recreational use. Engineer Wolterstorff stated that a 5-year storm event would fill 2 feet of the basin and would be gone in approximately 6 hours. The 100-year storm event would rise to 6 feet and be gone in 24 hours. The water would typically be held for 24 hours. The water depth will range from 2 to 6 feet depending on the intensity of the storm. From Burke Engineer’s presentation, a 500-year storm event is approximately 6 inches above the 100-year event.
Commissioner Morissette-Moll stated her concern for 6 feet of water taking 24 hours to dissipate and asked who would monitor the basin. Executive Director Rogers stated that Plunkett Park's 6 ft basin has been in place for 10 years. When the basin is full, signage is erected warning people to not swim in the basin. Short of installing a 6 ft fence, the entire community monitors it. Commissioner Kubiesa stated that the District could include it in the IGA, but fencing would look horrible in the park.
Board President Ubriaco stated that the IGA should include the contingency for the City to update stormwater infrastructure to address issues at the McKinley Street pump house and installing larger pipes to the creek. The responsibility to work on this issue should be shared. It would be a horrible shame if the Park District were to go ahead with the project as presented tonight and not have a reasonable expectation that the City would carry the ball the whole way for the southwest area.
The use of low-key poles or trees was suggested to reduce exposure from a car veering off from York Road to the basin. Commissioner Howard stated that there is a reason why the tort immunity act does not hold park districts and cities liable for negligence; otherwise, we couldn't operate parks. The District would be expected to place fencing in all of its parks. The City can indemnify the District should they use the parks for detention. Executive Director Rogers will ask the District’s risk management agency. The Board can advise the subcommittee that safety be part of the IGA as it is developed with the City.
Park Board votes in the affirmative to assist City of Elmhurst with stormwater detention in York Commons and Golden Meadows Park.
The following motions were put forth:
Commissioner Spaeth made a motion that the Park Board of Commissioners accept Executive Director Rogers’ presentation tonight in consideration for entering into an intergovernmental agreement that will, in perpetuity, alter and/or encumber open park space for use as stormwater detention purposes, the City agrees to extend the term of the shared Maintenance Facility Lease that currently expires in 2029 until February 28, 2108 to coincide with the City’s lease of property on York Commons for Fire Station #2.
The Park District agrees to allow the City to utilize the west portion of York Commons Park (along York Street) to provide a stormwater detention basin with a capacity of approximately 11 acre feet in order to address the overland flooding concerns that exist for residents of Crescent Street. In exchange for the use of York Commons as proposed, the City agrees to construct, at no cost to the Park District, one (1) basketball court and two (2) sand volleyball courts in accordance with the Park District’s York Commons Master Plan. York Commons storage facility is only one component required to solve flooding in the Southwest Study Area. The City of Elmhurst commits to accomplishing the recommendations within the Comprehensive Flooding Plan Report for the remainder of the Southwest Study Area. In additional consideration would be the installation of a shutoff valve to the line that would feed the detention basin from the Crescent Street area. Once the basin would be deemed full, the water would be shutoff automatically with a valve to be engineered by the City. Commissioner Kies seconded the motion. The Board was polled. Ayes: Commissioner Howard, Kies, Kubiesa, Morissette-Moll, Pelosi, Spaeth, and Ubriaco. Nays: None. The motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Howard made a motion that the Park Board respond in the affirmative in allowing the City to utilize Golden Meadows Park and develop an intergovernmental agreement containing the following term the Park District agrees to allow the City to utilize the west portion of Golden Meadows by subdividing the property and deeding the western portion (approximately 2.5 to 3 acres) to the City to provide a stormwater detention basin with a capacity of 15+ acre feet in order to address the overland flooding concerns that exist for District residents of Pine Street and Avon. (It being acknowledged that because Golden Meadows Park was acquired using Land and Water Conservation Funds, the property must be replaced with property of equal or greater value) thereby obligating the City to acquire property subject to approval by the Park District of equal or greater value to replace the western portion of Golden Meadows with the City also agreeing to assist the Park District in relocating the garden plots that will be displaced. Commissioner Pelosi seconded the motion. The Board was polled. Ayes: Commissioner Kies, Kubiesa, Morissette-Moll, Pelosi, Spaeth, Howard, Ubriaco. Nays: None. The motion passed unanimously.
October 29, 2014 - Below is the letter sent by the Park Board to the City of Elmhurst with their formal approval and details for each of the two sites.
Click here to listen to the complete audio recording of the October 22, 2014 Park Board meeting.