Take this pond.
The Lombard Park District owns it.
DuPage County oversees it.
Neighbors think it could solve flooding problems.
The village of Lombard wants to improve it, adding relief sewers and lowering the water level so it can hold more rain during storms.
The park district gave the village the go-ahead to make those changes.
Yet a year and a half after Lombard officials began considering Terrace View Pond two blocks west of Main Street as a solution for flooding on the village's northwest side, the site remains unchanged.
In a story of intergovernmental cooperation that could happen anywhere, more than one factor is causing the pond improvement project to progress slowly — at least in the minds of neighbors, who since April have been calling for speedier action.
An engineering study must be conducted; one government must grant the other permission to pursue the project; construction plans must be made; permits must be obtained; money must be found and budgeted; and in this case, land may even need to be purchased.
So although the Lombard Park District has informally given the village permission to alter Terrace View Pond, completion of the project may still be up to a year away.
An engineering and environmental study that officials determined was necessary in April wasn't complete until late October.
The study found the best approach to preventing flooding involved adding two, 24-inch relief sewers feeding into the pond from Crystal Avenue to the north and installing pumps to lower the normal water level by one foot, said Carl Goldsmith, Lombard's public works director.
Environmental impacts were studied at the request of the park district.
“We just asked the question ‘What's going to happen to the pond?'” Executive Director Paul Friedrichs said.
The study determined the pond has diverse wetland plants such as white lily flowers and prairie grasses, and lowering its water level should not greatly harm fishing or recreation.
The study didn't answer every environmental question, but “I do believe the best interests of the pond are being taken into account,” Friedrichs said.
With the study complete and worries somewhat quelled about the pond's future as a fishing hole and scenic walking spot, park board members informally voted in late October to allow the project.
“We've had a great deal of cooperation from the park district,” Goldsmith said. “Once we satisfied their need for information, they were willing to assist to the greatest extent possible.”
A formal intergovernmental agreement is next on the list of steps to be taken before improvements can made.
Both sides say they're clear on what the agreement needs to say, mainly that relief sewers and pumps both must be constructed, with the sewer lines to be built first.
The same company that conducted the $52,264 engineering and environmental study, Christopher B. Burke Engineering Ltd. of Rosemont, is under an $111,069 contract with the village to design the sewer lines and pumps.
“They'll have to identify the most appropriate place for (the sewer lines) based on gravity, topography,” Goldsmith said.
Depending on where the pipes should be, the village may need to negotiate an easement with a Crystal Avenue resident whose backyard abuts the pond, or possibly buy a property.
But before any work can take place, the village needs a stormwater management permit from DuPage County, which classifies Terrace View Pond as a “critical wetland” because of its diversity of plants, said Clayton Heffter, the county's stormwater permitting manager.
The permit application must prove flooding can't be alleviated “in other ways besides impact to the critical wetland,” Heffter said.
Goldsmith said he anticipates obtaining the county permit will be the slowest step remaining in the process of making stormwater improvements to Terrace View Pond.
But budgeting for the nearly $1 million project, which began with a public works committee review in mid-December, also will take a few months, Goldsmith said.
Still, with the park district's permission, Goldsmith said the project should have the resources it needs to move forward beginning next year.
“The village board and the public works committee are continuing to be supportive of efforts to alleviate flooding,” Goldsmith said. “The project is subject to available funding. I'm pretty confident it will be there.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.