Synergistic Flood Control


Many problems that seem intractable to an individual governmental body can be surmounted by “intergovernmental cooperation” – multiple governmental entities working together.  It’s called “synergy.”

So we’re glad to see that the City of Park Ridge’s flood consultant, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, is suggesting that one way for the City of Park Ridge to reduce flooding in certain areas might be to enlist the aid of the Park Ridge Park District and create above-ground water detention areas in the parks, according to a story in today’s Park Ridge Herald-Advocate (“Park water storage could curb flooding: engineer” October 29).

A study of six heavy-flooding areas of the City done by the flood consultant indicates that an above-ground, grass covered basin at Northwest Park – when linked by storm sewers and cross pipes to nearby areas that are regularly hard-hit by flooding – could mitigate flooding in the areas both east and west of that park during those heaviest of rains which pose the worst problems for area residents. 

The water detained in that basin would drain within about 48 hours, according to the consultant.

Obviously, a plan like this, which appears very attractive at first glance, needs to be thoroughly vetted as to, first and foremost, its cost – not only the cost to create it, but the expected costs to maintain it.  Not surprisingly, there is no mention of cost in the Herald-Advocate article, which is a bit troubling given the astronomical numbers being tossed around for the kind of sewer upgrades needed to make a significant dent in the flooding problem city-wide.

And let’s also make sure the plan is thoroughly vetted as to all of its potential consequences to the fields themselves, such as the effect of water detention on the health of the turf and the fields’ playability, the potential for interruption of field use for scheduled events, etc.  Those also have a cost to them, both in money and in time lost to rescheduling or alternatives.

But the idea sure does sound promising, so we hope it will be given all due consideration. 

We’re giving a special wag of the Watchdog’s tail to the Park District, which has led the way in intergovernmental cooperation since 2004, when it saved the City (and, therefore, the taxpayers) several million dollars by offering Hinkley Park as the site of the City’s new reservoir.  And that savings isn’t even counting the approx. $2 million value to the NICOR site, value which would have been permanently lost if the City had gone forward with its plan to put the reservoir there.

Synergy.  Ya gotta love it.

2 comments so far

Saw this on the PR website.

Wonder if this is open to the public?

I live near Northwest Park and our house was severely damaged by the flooding last September. This area of town has the majority of the inverted, or downward-sloping driveways, for which there is really no other solution than to somehow lessen the amount of water that collects in the streets. And as mentioned, this area floods regulatly. We really need the city and the Park District to work together and make this a reality.

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