Remarks/Correspondence from Visitors
Due to the high volume of correspondence a full transcript of comments can be found in the Remarks/Correspondence section of the Meeting Minutes provided through the link below.
Unfinished business: Stormwater Management Update
This agenda item was added during the Additions/Deletions/Changes to Agenda portion of the meeting. Board President Ubriaco attended the City of Elmhurst Public Works meeting on Monday, June 23. She explained that the Park Board understands residents' plight and takes very seriously the City's desire to work with the Park District. Board President Ubriaco read the following prepared statement:
In August 2013, the City of Elmhurst approached the Park Board with very preliminary temporary stormwater detention concepts. With unanimous support, the Elmhurst Park Board approved the appointment of Commissioners Bob Howard and Vince Spaeth to the Stormwater Sub-Committee. Over nearly the past year, Commissioners Howard and Spaeth have met regularly with their counterparts Aldermen Jim Kennedy and Danee Polomsky joined by respective staff members from both agencies including City Manager Jim Grabowski and Elmhurst Park District Executive Director Jim Rogers. The Elmhurst Park Board unanimously approved hiring V3 Engineering to help speed our process and advance our progress on the City of Elmhurst's desire to use parkland for temporary stormwater detention. V3 Engineering is providing expertise that was not contemplated in the Burke Engineering engagement with the City of Elmhurst. Specifically, identifying what is necessary to preserve recreational features and uses while providing for temporary detention when needed. The Elmhurst Park District Board has not wavered in its support for the mutual efforts underway with the City of Elmhurst. We are motivated and anxious to contribute to effective sustainable stormwater methods because we believe it is in the community's best interest to do so and the right thing to do. Elmhurst Park District recreational land diverted to stormwater detention is likely to be encumbered into perpetuity. You, the Elmhurst resident, are counting on us to make wise choices and to do the right thing in the right way. Please support us in our Park District mission and as we continue to work with the City of Elmhurst on theirs, that is, providing stormwater management to residents.
Thank you for your attention.
Executive Director Rogers stated that he and City Manager Grabowski will be meeting with Burke and V3 Engineering firms to go over V3's initial findings report. We look forward to Burke's response in order to move forward on the plan. Park Commissioners asked that the Sub-Committee discuss the use of City property for stormwater detention, the possibility of the City purchasing flooding homes on Geneva to use for stormwater detention, and address concerns regarding the overflowing of the proposed York Commons detention basin to Cayuga Street.
Commissioner Spaeth stated that it would be beneficial if the School District participated in the discussions in order to strategize options of including School District property e.g... using Madison School District property and moving children to an alternate space.
Executive Director Rogers explained to the public that one of the concerns with the proposed York Commons detention area is that the conceptual plans show a bottom depth resulting in water entering the park at any rain level from Crescent Street, which would make the field unusable during any rain event. The elevation needs to be raised for water to fall when Crescent Street water capacity is above a determined depth.
The Board consensus was that the detention basins will not solve stormwater problems altogether as it is a temporary solution to a problem of exponential building of large homes and direct downspouts to sewers. Commissioners stated that the stormwater plans are a priority to the Park Board, many hours have been spent in considering the use of park land, but are concerned for the parks in order to continue to provide open space for safe recreational use. The Board is interested in remaining active in participating in finding a solution as they stated that the problem is a community problem to be worked on by all as a whole and asked residents to implore the City to resolve the issues. Commissioner Pelosi agreed with residents' comments asking a decision be made in order for the City to move on to other options if the decision is "No.” Members on the Park Board connected with residents' urgency as some had flooding in their homes.
Board President Ubriaco made a final statement to thank the residents in attendance for coming to the meeting, voicing their opinions and their demand for action. She encouraged residents to contact the Board if they had any questions or concerns. She would like to see the City and the Park District jointly work together to answer residents' concerns. Although 98% of items discussed at the meeting were previously discussed, it was important to give an update to residents. If the Park Board can reduce the community's anxiety then that is one step closer to moving ahead to something that will work. In addition to spending time on stormwater and running the pools and recreational programs, the Park District has taken on some of the work that the City might otherwise be doing willingly and not begrudgingly. Thanked everyone for coming and fellow Commissioners for stepping up.
The Board discussed whether to add Stormwater Management Discussion on each Board agenda. Cons were to only list when there is news and not as a just-in-case. Pros were to allow for continued and last-minute updates to keep the Board posted at each meeting. Executive Director Rogers explained that Future Agenda lists an item to discuss V3 Engineering's final report but Stormwater Management Discussion can be listed on the Board's meeting Agenda as frequently as needed for both Sub-Committee updates and Board discussions.