Marklund hopeful holdup on water/sewer permit for new school will end soon

Marklund is hoping to get some good news Tuesday night: permission to connect a new therapeutic day school it is building to water and sewer service.

It would settle an issue the nonprofit organization has been fighting for several months about the construction at its Hyde Center in the Mill Creek subdivision near Geneva and Batavia.

President and CEO Gil Fonger said Marklund was "held hostage" during a dispute between the water/sewer district and the owner of a golf course in the more than 1,300-acre subdivision.

Fonger said Friday he's been told the district's engineer has approved the request, but the district's board has to vote on it. He believes that is an unusual step.

"It's not a done deal yet," Fonger said.

The agenda for Tuesday's meeting does not list anything specific regarding Marklund. There is an item for receiving and discussing an "Operations Report." According to minutes of a 2018 meeting, the overall system was at about 82% capacity.

Marklund took a risk and started mass grading the site, Fonger said, with the understanding the work may be for naught if it doesn't get the permit.

It didn't want to delay construction any further. Any significant delay would push some of the outside work into cold winter months, and that could have added as much as $1 million to the cost of building the school, Fonger said.

Marklund also did not want to put off construction until next spring. It wants to open the new school, for people with disabilities, in the fall of 2020.

The subdivision contains the Mill Creek and Tanna Farms golf clubs.

It is unincorporated, so it doesn't get services from the cities of Geneva or Batavia. Water service and sanitary-sewage treatment are supplied by the reclamation district.

The district's sewage system is designed to store treated sewage byproduct until spring and summer every year.

Then, the effluent is sprayed on the golf courses through an irrigation system.

The subdivision, including the courses, is a Shodeen Inc. project. Shodeen has, over the years, hired management companies to run the golf course.

But it dropped the most recent company last year. It has not opened the course this year; its website says it is evaluating the course for repairs and renovations.

According to reclamation district letters Marklund received, some valves in the irrigation system were broken, and the district would not consider approving Marklund's plan until all the valves were fixed.

The district's engineer could not be reached for comment Friday as to the status of the repairs.

"It just shouldn't be this hard," Fonger said.

  Mill Creek Golf Club did not open this season. And broken valves in its irrigation system played a role in delaying construction of Marklund's day school. Rick West/, March 2018
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