By: Chris Ragona, Community Development Manager, DuPage County, IL
On April 18, 2013, the lives of thousands of DuPage County, Illinois residents were affected by devastating flooding that was caused by a record setting thirteen inches of rain occurring in less than twenty-four hours. Homes were flooded, roads were made impassable, numerous residents were rescued, and damage was estimated in the millions. For the next several weeks some residents were forced to live in shelters, salvage what remained of their possessions in basements, and wondered if their lives would ever be the same. Natural disasters affect the lives of millions every year and the devastation can occur without warning. Hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, blizzard, earthquakes, and even volcanic eruptions can devastate populations across the U.S.
In response to this disaster, DuPage County was declared a Presidentially Declared Disaster Area and received $31,526,000 in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds from the Federal Government due to the flooding that took place throughout the County in April 2013. In order to determine the best use of funds and meet the regulations of the CDBG-DR program, the Community Development department initiated a comprehensive needs assessment for input from residents, business owners, and elected officials. Staff also looked for opportunities to leverage dollars in order to maximize the impact of the disaster recovery funds received and identified two main objectives. These were to remove residential structures and residents from flood prone properties, and to focus on long term recovery by constructing new infrastructure to prevent flooding in future events, all with a focus on areas and residents qualifying as low-income. Project costs ranged from $150,000 to $9.4 million dollars. Due to the changing needs of the County, a total of five amendments have been completed to incorporate additional activities and to conform to meet the regulations of the CDBG-DR program.
Armstrong Park Stormwater Facility, Carol Stream Illinois – Project Cost - $9,400,000
Improvements made to store stormwater by adding two reservoirs and then slowly siphoning the water back to Klein Creek, while preventing flooding in residential neighborhoods. This neighborhood experienced flooding and has been impacted by multiple storm events over the past several years.
Neighborhood Flooding – April 18, 2013
Completed Stormwater Facility – Armstrong Park – Carol Stream, Illinois
George St. Culvert Replacement Project, Bensenville Illinois – Project Cost - $200,000
The Village of Bensenville replaced an approximately 45-year-old Corrugated Metal culvert, which had significantly deteriorated over the years and was on the verge of collapsing. The Village removed and replaced the old culvert with a new Portland Cement Concrete culvert. This project is also part of a larger long term to solution to localized flooding in the Village.
Neighborhood Flooding – April 18, 2013
Completed Culvert Replacement – Bensenville, Illinois
An estimated forty-four residential flood-prone properties will be purchased by DuPage County, demolished, and returned to open space to prevent future flooding of residential properties. DuPage County Stormwater Management identified properties that were located in floodplains or were classified as flood-prone, and an estimated $5.6 million in CDBG-DR funds will be invested into these properties.
Additionally, ten infrastructure improvements have been completed and a number of activities are scheduled for completion in the spring of 2019 with an estimated investment of $24,000,000. DuPage County Community Development will continue to look for investment opportunities and identify needs if additional funds become available.
Finally, three planning documents were completed as part of long term recovery efforts for future flood mitigation projects including a partnership with the Army Corp of Engineers. A total of $600,000 was invested into these planning documents.
For a complete review of the DuPage County CDBG-DR and other grant programs, please visit the following link below: