Today, the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission and City of Lake Forest held a ceremonial groundbreaking event to mark the inauguration of the Burr Oak Area Storm Sewer Improvement Project. Once completed, the project will benefit more than 340 residential properties and businesses in the area. Grant funding from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the City of Lake Forest will be utilized to construct storm sewer system upgrades and underground storage facilities to help protect residents and businesses in the area from flood risk.
Kurt Woolford, Executive Director for the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, said “The area is experiencing increased amounts of rainfall that can be attributed to the warming of the atmosphere and more extreme weather events. These improvements will have an immediate positive impact on businesses and the lives of residents who face continued challenges because of our region’s persistent stormwater issues.”
Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart said, “Bringing the Burr Oak project to reality has taken incredible teamwork and collaboration. I want to thank Stormwater Management, the City of Lake Forest, and our state legislators, who vigorously advocated for millions in stormwater funding for working together to reduce the disastrous effects of flooding on residents and businesses.”
The project will benefit ten businesses along Western Avenue who consistently experience interruptions of service due to flooding. The completed work will also have a vast impact on a total of six roadways currently susceptible to street flooding including Western Avenue, which is considered a major roadway in Lake Forest.
“While work officially started on the Burr Oak Area Storm Sewer Improvement Project last week, we’re excited to mark the beginning of this very important project,” said Lake Forest Mayor George A. Pandaleon. “This work will help reduce flooding for residents and businesses in the immediate area. It will also protect one of Lake Forest’s treasured legacies, our natural ravine system.”
“The City of Lake Forest and Lake County SMC have partnered on many smaller drainage projects over the past 25 years and we’re excited to now have the necessary funding for a large project like Burr Oak thanks to the DCEO grant,” said Lake County Board Member Paras Parekh who represents District 12 which includes Lake Forest. “I am thrilled to see the long-awaited groundbreaking of this project as I am sure the businesses and residents in the area are as well.”
On May 9, Lake County welcomed Illinois Governor Pritzker to Waukegan to announce and give thanks for $30 million in initial funding granted to complete regional stormwater infrastructure projects, including this project in Lake Forest. The initial funding received will be used to complete 14 projects, providing stormwater management benefits to more than 2,300 properties and 25 roadways across our county.
Lake County will be granted a total $122 million in funding by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to support local initiatives in managing regional stormwater and related infrastructure maintenance and improvement projects to reduce flooding for hard hit communities across Lake County. Future project locations include: Antioch, Fox Lake, Grayslake, Highland Park, Libertyville, Park City, Shields Township, Warren Township, and Waukegan.