Flood-fixing pump finished in Elmwood Park; officials celebrate

On a little triangle of land along Thatcher Avenue, Elmwood Park village officials met to celebrate their progress toward a flood-free town Monday.

A groundbreaking ceremony took place along Thatcher Monday to celebrate the completion of a major part of the village’s Flood Mitigation Project. There’s still work to do, but officials say by the fall, Thatcher will have a total new look inside and out.

The pumping station for the village is up and running on the 2½ acre piece of land donated by Oak Park Country Club, just east of Thatcher Avenue. The land also has a fully functional retention pond in place.

Stephen Sugg, project manager for Christopher Burke Engineering, which is in charge of the construction project for the village, said the new pump station and new storm sewers are ready to take floodwater from the area to the Des Plaines River basin.

In July 2011, heavy rains flooded streets, basements and stalled moving cars, which brought out angry and frustrated residents to village board meetings seeking solutions. The village board at that time voted to begin construction of a $2.6 million Flood Mitigation Project to cure flooding problems in the village.

Still, there’s still more work to do, which includes cosmetic improvements to Thatcher Avenue that include curbs and gutters along the winding road and spaces for on-street parking where homes are located. A wall also be built along the east side of the Des Plaines River to prevent flooding if the river rises.

Elmwood Park Village President Angelo “Skip” Saviano thanked residents for their patience during construction along the thoroughfare.

“The magnitude of this project affects every corner of our village,” he said.

Elmwood Park Trustee Angela Stranges said she’s encouraged by the work that’s being done.

“It is a great project and I’m looking forward to its completion,” she said. “It’s a wonderful thing for the community.”

All the improvements, including the final installation of the rest of the sewer and water main pipes, are expected to be completed by December, weather permitting.

The next portion of the Flood Mitigation Project involves stormwater pipes being installed in several of the streets in the village that run west into 80th Avenue.

The whole flood mitigation project should be completed between May and June of 2015, Sugg said.

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