Gurnee reviews flood performance

Updated 6/24/2013 9:23 PM
  • Kristina Kovarik

    Kristina Kovarik

Gurnee village board members Monday night received a presentation regarding how officials handled flooding near the Des Plaines River in April and possible future needs.

Officials estimated the flood cost village government $260,838. Labor was the greatest expense at $163,461, with the balance for equipment and supplies.

Heavy rains in April caused the swollen Des Plaines River to spill over its banks and flow toward homes on Kilbourne Road and Emerald Avenue. However, unlike in past years, the problem was not as widespread.

In the presentation, Village Engineer Scott Drabicki said 11 homes and three commercial structures have been removed from the flood zone east of the river since 2003. He said it's been Gurnee's goal to protect the community from flooding.

"We've made a lot of progress in that regard," Drabicki said.

Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik has noted the purchases allowed for the creation of more open space to soak up flood water.

Management analyst Erik Jensen said he thought the village succeeded in providing timely and accurate information about the flooding to residents. He said the village used a mix of 15 releases, a news conference, social media when appropriate and its website.

Areas of improvement in the future include road closure equipment and how volunteers are organized. Gurnee would buy a new sandbagging machine fort $22,000 and special traffic barricades for $7,000.

Gurnee Grade School on Kilbourne Road, just a stone's throw from the river, was out of the mix during the flooding. Gurnee Elementary District 56 closed the building in January and shifted students to a new building in Wadsworth and a school on O'Plaine Road behind village hall.

Separately, any residents or businesses that sustained damage during the April and May storms and flooding in Lake County have until July 9 to register for possible financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. C. Kent McKenzie, Lake County emergency management coordinator, said registration is the first step to gain access to a range of federal programs.

Applicants may call (800) 621-3362 or visit

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