With rain from last weekend soaked into the soil, and more wet weather in the forecast, Lombard residents living near Terrace View Pond wish efforts to increase the pond's stormwater capacity would move along faster.
A study of stormwater management options for the site is just underway and not expected to be completed until September. The village proposed the idea of improving the pond after last July's flooding rains, but the Lombard Park District owns the land and a deal must be worked out between the two groups.
Still, homeowners would like to see some action -- soon.
"They're using our yards and basements as retention ponds," said Linda Sullivan, who leads a homeowners association formed to address flooding concerns in northwest Lombard's Olde Towne neighborhood. "We feel like the village owes us a functioning sewer system, a functioning infrastructure."
Park commissioners have said they're open to allowing the village to make improvements, but only after an engineering study of five options to determine which would best solve neighbors' flooding problems and how the changes would affect the ecosystem of the pond and the park surrounding it.
The village budgeted $20,000 for the study, planning to analyze just one option.
But with the addition of four ideas proposed by the park district, the study came in at $52,264, a cost trustees approved in late June.
"The original budget estimate reflected one option and really sort of a nuts and bolts approach," said Carl Goldsmith, Lombard's public works director. "When we started our dialogue with the park district, our scope expanded."
The village proposes installing pumps to decrease the depth of the pond by one foot during dry conditions. That would enable the pond to hold more rain when storms hit.
"If they lower the pond, there is a concern that there's going to be less wildlife there," Sullivan said. "I think it would look fine as a wetland, but some people don't like that look."
Other options proposed by the park district include expanding the pond's surface area so it can hold more water; lowering the pond by installing a gravity sewer system to help water flow into the sewer system naturally; and two options that include dredging the pond.
Terrace View Pond has been a water retention area since it was built in 1972 under an intergovernmental agreement between the village and the park district, according to Village Manager David Hulseberg.
Although the study, to be conducted by Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd., of Rosemont, now costs more than the village projected, Trustee Greg Gron said finding the best solution to keep water out of residents' basements is worth the extra investment.
"Whether or not it's a couple extra bucks, it's good for the residents in the area," said Gron, whose district includes Terrace View Pond and neighborhoods around it.
When the study is complete, it will suggest which option would best solve flood problems around the pond. The finished document should be ready in time for the park board and the village board to vote on it separately at meetings in September, Gron said.
Sullivan said neighbors appreciate progress the village is making toward improving drainage in their area, but more could be done to speed the process. Neighbors are not concerned about the study's higher price tag because many of them paid between $30,000 and $70,000 for cleanup and repairs to their homes after last July's torrential rains, she said.