Gurnee is moving ahead with efforts to meet a long-planned goal of boosting water pressure for residents on the village's west side.
Preliminary work for the $2.7 million, two-part project has started with brush removal on a section of village property off Almond Road north of Washington Street. Construction in the area also is occurring to extend a Lake Michigan water pipeline to Lindenhurst, Lake Villa and two unincorporated areas.
Some Washington Park subdivision residents are voicing frustration with the project. Resident Ted Cummings said parkway trees planted near Almond and Presidential Drive at least 20 years ago have been lost to accommodate Gurnee's planned water meter and pumping station.
"Frankly, I'll take the low water pressure and keep the trees, but nobody asked us," Cummings said.
Village Engineer Scott Drabicki said the first leg of the project will be installation of a meter to measure the amount of Lake Michigan water being provided to the village. That'll be followed by a pumping station to improve water pressure on the west side.
Plans call for the equipment to be inside a roughly 1,500-square-foot brick structure with a residential appearance and driveway leading to it from Almond Road. Work on the pumping station is not expected to start until January 2018, Drabicki said, with completion for everything targeted for December 2019.
Village officials said the pumping station will be tied into plans for a new water tower off Knowles Road on Gurnee's west side. The tower also is expected to boost water pressure and provide extra water storage, said Community Development Director David Ziegler.
Mayor Kristina Kovarik said the Almond Road site has the proper topography for the meter and pumping station. She responded to Cummings when he spoke during public comment at a recent meeting.
"There is a lot of thought and a lot of planning with this," Kovarik said. "We have been planning this (water pressure improvement) for many years and we have looked at the best place we could put it."
Cummings also questioned why Gurnee did not direct the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency to run its pipeline extension somewhere other than Almond Road. Kovarik replied it is the most direct route to bring the Lake Michigan water line to Hutchins and Stearns School roads on its way to Lindenhurst, Lake Villa and the unincorporated areas.