A delay in securing a permit likely will once again push back construction of a $7 million stormwater management project at Armstrong Park in Carol Stream -- this time until spring 2014.
DuPage County Board member Jim Zay, chairman of the county's stormwater management committee, was sheepish Monday in updating the Carol Stream Park District board on the latest delays for a project that already has kept residents in flood-prone areas waiting for two years.
"Obviously, we're frustrated at the lack of movement," Zay said. "It's unacceptable to us."
In May, the Carol Stream village board approved final plans for construction of two aboveground reservoirs in Armstrong Park and a siphon that will release stormwater to a downstream point in Klein Creek.
The county has waited since late 2011 for approval of its dam safety permit application, which is reviewed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Office of Water Resources. A letter to expedite the process signed by county board Chairman Dan Cronin and Carol Stream Village President Frank Saverino was sent to state legislators and Gov. Pat Quinn, and Cronin called the governor to make a personal request.
"There is one gentleman in the state who reviews these permits and I was told it cleared his desk the other day," Zay said. "Hopefully we'll have the permit in a couple weeks. This is a roadblock we've never had to deal with."
Another sticking point is in the bid process for the project. Of the seven firms expressing interest in the project at a public bid opening Sept. 18, only one actually submitted a proposal -- and it was substantially higher than estimates.
With the number of construction projects going on now, several companies said they can't immediately tackle the work but might be interested if the project is rebid in a couple months.
Working with the original timeline, the park's Aldrin Community Center was demolished in the spring of 2012 after nearly 40 years on the site to make way for the stormwater reservoir, with land that housed the center to be converted into a flood-control pond.
The timeline this year was to put out bids in July and get most of the work done in a three-month window before winter set in.
Realistically, Zay said, "we're now going full-bore as soon as the weather breaks" in spring 2014 with intentions of completing the work within one construction season.
Commissioner Brenda Gramann said she appreciated the update but voiced frustrations with the much-delayed and at times unsightly project.
"We've gone now two summers with the park (torn up) and next year will be the third year of a nonusable or half-usable park," Gramann said. "I know none of us want that. We've cost our taxpayers a lot and I think we're all tired of that and I think we're all ready for it to be over."