Big flood control project in Libertyville slated for early August start: 'We're excited to get it rolling'

A project to address historic flooding in south central Libertyville is almost ready to launch.

The village board on Tuesday, June 28, will consider a low bid of just over $6.41 million, which would allow the first of two phases of a project to control flooding south of Route 176 between Butterfield Road and Garfield Avenue to get underway.

Plans to significantly reduce flooding are focused on the Highlands subdivision, which was inundated by storms in 2017.

Engineers refer to the two-step process as storage and conveyance. First, a basin would be created to hold stormwater. Then in the summer of 2023, sewer lines would be replaced with larger ones to better carry it away from streets and basements.

"Huge. This is big for us," said Jeff Cooper, village engineer. "We're excited to get it rolling."

Work on the detention basin would begin on or shortly after Aug. 1. The project would encompass the entire area of Nicholas Dowden Park south of Crane Boulevard and hold the equivalent of 38.5 acres of water one foot deep.

To do that, the four existing softball fields, batting cages, a storage building and off-street parking along Dymond Avenue would be removed and improved, according to village officials. A public sidewalk along Crane Boulevard also would be added.

"The first step of the project is to provide an immense amount of volume where the water will be held," Cooper said.

The area would be excavated to a depth of six to nine feet. The ball fields would be about three feet higher than the surrounding property.

"We're lowering everything, but we're putting the ball fields (back) essentially where they are now," Cooper said.

When complete, the entire southern portion of the park could be underwater during the biggest rainfalls, he said.

The ballfield replacement/renovation is part of the stormwater project.

Design plans were prepared by the village's consultant, Christopher B. Burke Engineering. Cooper said three bids were received and opened last Friday. Campanella & Sons Inc., which has done related grading and utility projects in the village, was the qualified low bid.

The village will apply $2.75 million from a state grant toward the project. The village will receive more than $7.64 million from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for three projects in the end, including the second part of the Highlands project and the completion of a massive storm sewer improvement in the Rockland Road area to the east.

The three are among 14 flood control projects throughout Lake County being funded with an initial $30 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds that the state received.

The ballfield replacement/renovation is part of the stormwater project, but renovations are planned for the north side of Nicholas Dowden Park.

Concepts had included a "destination" playground, a new basketball court to replace one lost on the south side, two pickleball courts, a linear skate park, a native garden swale and a walking loop.

The improvements were to be made with a state open space grant. But the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has delayed the awards pushing the project to the 2023-24 budget year, according to village Administrator Kelly Amidei.

Libertyville neighborhood unites to consider flooding solutions

Libertyville moving forward on flood reduction projects

New fee in Libertyville to fund $53 million for flood control

With $30 million grant, Lake County prepares for 'once in a generation' flood control projects

Heavy flooding at the intersection of Crane Boulevard and Dawes Street in Libertyville were forced from their homes during flooding in July 2017. A two-part project to alleviate flooding in the Highlands subdivision is almost ready to get underway. Daily Herald file photo, 2017
  Nicholas-Dowden Park in Libertyville would be the subject of renovations where ball fields and other property is raised so that floodwater would flow to the southern end of the park in heavy rainfall. Paul Valade/
This outline shows the flood management area where water would flow at Nicholas-Dowden Park in Libertyville. Courtesy of village of Libertyville
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.