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updated: 7/14/2017 6:45 PM

Fox River flooding closes forest preserves, trail; Lauzen declares disaster

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  • Island Park in Geneva is closed because of flooding from the Fox River.

      Island Park in Geneva is closed because of flooding from the Fox River.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Tyler Creek spills across Eagle Road in Elgin as flooding in the Fox Valley continues.

      Tyler Creek spills across Eagle Road in Elgin as flooding in the Fox Valley continues.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 

Towns in Kane and McHenry counties continue to keep a wary eye on the rising Fox River, expected to crest Tuesday.

Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen issued a disaster declaration Friday morning, in anticipation of increased flooding. The declaration activates the county's emergency operations plan and helps residents qualify for federal disaster assistance should the county qualify for such aid.

The Kane County Forest Preserve District has closed all or parts of six forest preserves due to flooding, downed trees and other damage.

Portions of the Fox River Trail are closed in South Elgin, St. Charles and Geneva, due to flooding.

Cornish Park and Towne Park in Algonquin, parts of the riverwalk in West Dundee, parts of the bike path in Elgin, Walton Island in Elgin and Island Park in Geneva are closed as well. Some area roads remain flooded.

The Fox River crested Thursday night in New Munster, Wisconsin, and is predicted to hit a flood stage of almost 13 feet at 1 a.m. Tuesday in Algonquin and at 13 feet six hours later in Montgomery.

Closed

Affected forest preserves are Brunner Family in Dundee Township, Buffalo Park in Algonquin, Carpentersville Dam in Carpentersville, Fitchie Creek in Elgin, Raceway Woods in Carpentersville and Voyageur Landing in Dundee Township.

The district has also closed the causeway over the river in the Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva.

The Geneva Park District closed Island Park. It moved a "Shakespeare in the Park" play planned for Saturday to nearby RiverPark.

The Fox River Trail is closed at Stearns Road in South Elgin, at Arthur Andersen Forest Preserve in St. Charles, and through Island Park in Geneva.

Sandbags

Public work employees in Algonquin are working 24/7 to fill sandbags and deliver them to eight locations for pickup by residents in neighborhoods adjacent to the Fox River, Assistant Village Administrator Mike Kumbera said.

Volunteers can help from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day through Sunday at 110 Meyer Drive.

The Fox River was at 11.1 feet on Friday morning and was projected to crest at 13 feet at about 1 p.m. Tuesday. That's slightly more than the 12.7-foot cresting during the 2013 flooding, Kumbera said. Flood stage is at 9 feet.

More than 50 structures, including homes, garages and sheds, are expected to flood, and the hope is that sandbags will help protect some of them, he said.

"The river is moving very quickly, very dangerously," he said. "We advise the public to stay away."

West Dundee Public Works Director Eric Babcock said workers and volunteers have filled bags with two large dump trucks' worth of sand.

About six homes on Edward Street are most at risk, he said. A portion of North First Street was closed and the lift station on Third Street is being monitored, he said.

"We are standing by," he said. "We are prepared for the worst and hoping for the best."

St. Charles City Administrator Mark Koenen said officials are monitoring river levels and ready to close riverside walkways if needed.

It is also offering sandbags to residents.

The sandbags can be picked up and filled at the public works building at Devereaux Way and Riverside Avenue near Langum Park. For more information, visit stcharlesil.gov and click on "seasonal services."

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has designated the Fox River a Restricted Boating Area from Pistakee Lake south to the Montgomery Dam, in Lake, McHenry and Kane counties. Restricted Boating Areas are designated when conditions make navigation significantly hazardous. Because of this, the Fox Valley Park District has closed all its boat ramps and launches.

Things are less worrisome in Elgin, where the river is "very high" but with no apparent flooding threat, Water Director Kyla Jacobsen said. Still, residents are urged to remain cautious if they approach the river.

• Daily Herald staff writers James Fuller and Elena Ferrarin contributed to this report.

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