There were two letters read and five visitors provided comments during the Public Comment portion of the Park Board Meeting. To view a transcript of these comments please click on the Complete Board Minutes attached below.
Unfinished Business - Stormwater Subcommittee Report – Spaeth, Howard, Rogers
This agenda item was moved from agenda item #6c during the ADDITIONS/DELETIONS/ CHANGES TO AGENDA portion of the meeting.
Executive Director Rogers gave a brief overview of items added to the epd.org stormwater webpage and announced that Greg Wolterstorff of V3 Engineering was in attendance at the Board Meeting.
· At the meeting were representatives from the Park District, School District, City of Elmhurst, Burke Engineers, V3 Engineer Greg Wolterstorff. The group discussed the City's July 28 approval of its stormwater prioritization and subsequent formal request of August 14, 2014 sent to both the Park District and School District with a requested approval date of September 30. The subcommittee was informed that the Park District would not be in a position to make a decision about York Commons and Golden Meadows by September 30 particularly since the Park Board has set a date for the public meeting on Wednesday, October 1 at The Abbey. Additionally, although the Park Board has invested a significant amount of time to the proposed York Commons detention site it has yet to vet and review Golden Meadows from an engineering perspective. The public meeting will allow the entire community, including those not directly affected by the proposed detention basin, to become informed of how the parks are being requested to be used. The meeting will address misconceptions and provide accurate information.
- Park District representatives questioned the necessity or lack thereof of the west lobe at York Commons considering its relatively minor impact to helping protect against flooding as to the possibility of providing an inlet to the detention basin from east of Cayuga to take some of the water flow that comes down Cayuga from the east before it even gets there.
- Inquired about the proposed overflow of the basin as to how it may function. This same question was discussed at the City's public meeting on August 25, 2014.
- Discussed timeframes and the City's desire pending approval from the Park District to undertake further engineering over the next six months and potentially begin construction Spring 2015. Executive Director Rogers advised the City that Spring 2015 would not be optimal for the Park District as it would interfere with the summer pool season. He did suggest, if an agreement is reached, construction be scheduled after the Summer 2015 pool season.
- Commissioner Spaeth stated that as the subcommittee looks at York Commons, it will be presented to the Park Board in different silos of options. The options could then be vetted by the Board by listing pros and cons in order to make an informed decision weighing in residents’ feedback, future impact to the parks, and the number of homes relieved from flooding. The Board must balance the investment of the parks and the community’s. The public meeting on October 1, 2014 will provide more input from the community and help the Park Board move closer to making a decision on the issue.
- Executive Director Rogers stated that working with V3 has provided information to attain a better understanding of how the basins might function in different components. Park Board subcommittee members’ goal is to lay out all of the parameters for the Park Board and the public.
Stormwater Management Discussion
Commissioner Pelosi asked the subcommittee how the Park District can include safeguards in its agreement with the City against overflowing from the detention basin to Cayuga streets. Executive Director Rogers responded that engaging V3 Engineering to review Burke’s designs as they progress from its initial designs of 5% to approximately 15% to 20% is the Park District’s best safeguard. As the designs continue, the Park Board will have continual approval rights in their agreement. V3 will continue to review the plans all the way along through construction to oversee and ensure the detention basin is built to the specifications of the approved plans.
At the City’s Cayuga street public meeting, Burke spoke about designing an overflow channel at York Commons that would go from the basin towards the parking lot then out to the corner of York and Cayuga. The challenge there is when the water gets to York and Cayuga there is nowhere for it to go because it’s already backed up. In order to address that, the basin could be designed to only take in water up to the 100-year rain level so the likelihood of overflow directed to York and Cayuga would be diminished.
If the Park Board agrees that they will provide protection for a 50-year rain event up to the 100-year event, then the notion would be that the basin would not start taking water in until the levels reach the 50-year rain then shut off at the 100-year rainfall level. If it keeps raining and it is a 200-year or 500-year rainfall, the basin will overflow. In an event of a 500-year rainfall, the entire community would flood.
During the zero to 50 year rainfalls, the water would bypass the basin and go directly to the sewers, streets, curbs, and gutters as designed. The basins will not be designed for rainfalls less than 50 years. Once Crescent reaches the 50-year rain, the water would go into the park and continue to take in water until it reaches the 100-year level. At the 100-year level, the basin will stop taking in water and any water would stay on Crescent, which is unfortunate but these are not be all end all solutions for no one taking in water. The notion is that at a 125-year rain, there may be four or five homes that would take in water. In order to deter overflow to Cayuga, the Park Board would incorporate stopping points for water intake.
To be part of the solution, the Park District will find a reasonable balance to meet the City's needs without causing detriment to the recreational amenities or to remain whole without negatively impacting surrounding neighbors. There is no guarantee that any detention basin will not overflow. Currently, some parks take in water because they are at the lowest point in an area, but these parks may overflow when that area is full. Residents may complain that the park overflowed their home when the park actually reduced the amount of water that would have flowed into their home because it held water directed towards homes.
Commissioner Kies stated that she attended the City's Cayuga meeting, took notes, and heard residents’ ideas, which she believes should be explored since they are experiencing the flooding and may have viable solutions. Burke was unable to answer some of the residents’ questions. She visited Pine, Clinton, and Geneva streets after the August 21, 2014 rainfall witnessing waist deep water. It was not determined what ‘year’ the August 21 rainfall was, but rainfall measured 4.5 inches in a short period of time. Commissioner Kubiesa inquired whether a similar rainfall be part of the cutoff parameters for water intake at the proposed basin for Golden Meadows in order to prevent overflow to surrounding streets. Executive Director Rogers agreed it be part of the considerations for all the parks.
Commissioner Kubiesa asked safety be considered due to her visit to East End Park two days after the August 21 rainfall, which left standing water with a strong unpleasant odor. She recommended the use of artificial turf in some of the proposed basin locations.
Executive Director Rogers stated that there are no guarantees either the basins will not overflow. Gravity fed basins would be the best option as they are not susceptible to mechanical failure of pumps and lifts. Even though a gravity-fed pipe is maintained and monitored, an animal can block it with a nest or burrow. If there is a 100-year storm and it is plugged up, it is not going to work. There are no guarantees for the basin to be foolproof ever.
President Ubriaco noted that she met with Mayor Morley on August 25, 2014. He stated that it was important for the City to include a date but does not expect an answer from the Park Board by that date. He agrees that all of the work completed thus far has been productive with good progress. The City also is aware that while they were setting the date of September 30, we were setting our date for our public meeting, which is customary for the Park District to hold a public meeting before making changes to any park. It is important for the entire community to at least understand and be aware of what could transpire going forward. Mayor Morley specifically asked that constraints and conditions be identified specifically. Mr. Wolterstorff added that thus far, the Park Board with the help of V3 has done a very good job of coming up with concerns and vetting them to what is feasible and realistic to what the City can accomplish.
Commissioner Howard stated that stormwater management is not the Park District's mission. The Park Board must respond to user groups of the parks. This issue has taken a significant amount of the Executive Director's time. Stormwater management is the Park Board's secondary responsibility even though our subcommittee has taken it as our primary responsibility by applying its best efforts. The progress we have made in the first nine months equates to the progress we made in five months due to V3 Engineering's help. Having an engineer in the room has been the difference between first year and fourth year. We are doing our best. Be assured that if we say 'yes' it will be with conditions. It will not be carte blanche we need to protect the parks. It is our responsibility to promote them to our primary user groups.
Commissioner Ubriaco thanked the subcommittee for their time and efforts.