St. Charles poised to acquire final 2 properties for 7th Avenue Creek project

  • Heavy rainfall in 2008 caused significant flooding on roadways and properties along the 7th Avenue Creek in St. Charles. The city is now moving forward with plans to improve the corridor between Washington and South 10th avenues.

    Heavy rainfall in 2008 caused significant flooding on roadways and properties along the 7th Avenue Creek in St. Charles. The city is now moving forward with plans to improve the corridor between Washington and South 10th avenues. Courtesy of the City of St. Charles

 
 
Updated 11/1/2019 2:10 PM

St. Charles is poised to acquire the final two properties needed to move forward with its long-awaited 7th Avenue Creek project.

Design work is under way, and construction isn't slated to begin until 2021. But the city's plans to improve the creek corridor have been in the works for more than a decade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The project aims to address recurring flooding issues in some neighborhoods, with the first phase focusing on the section from Washington to South 10th avenues.

Since 2017, St. Charles has purchased and demolished 11 residential properties in that area, plus a few vacant lots, that would have impeded the project's construction or were at too low of an elevation to be removed from the flood zone, said Ken Jay, public works engineering manager.

Aldermen acting as the government services committee this week backed a proposal to acquire two more sites for $205,000 each, plus closing costs. If the city council ratifies the vote Monday, the houses at 112 S. 9th St. and 402 S. 7th Ave. will be torn down ahead of construction.

The remaining residences along that portion of the creek will be removed from the floodplain as the project progresses, Jay said.

Two houses also have been purchased and razed in anticipation of subsequent project phases, which could encompass the creek corridor downstream to the Fox River and the segment north to Tyler Road.

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The city's 7th Avenue Creek master plan has paralleled the Federal Emergency Management Agency's efforts since 2008 to revise its flood insurance rate maps for the area. Proposed upgrades include building larger culverts, creating a parklike "greenway" and allowing the now-linear waterway to meander more naturally, Public Works Director Peter Suhr said earlier.

The first phase is expected to cost roughly $5.8 million. Last year, the city was awarded a $1.2 million grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to help cover some expenses.

A preliminary design plan will be shown to aldermen during the next government services committee meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 25, Jay said. Public works staff members also intend to give an update on the project's budget and timeline.

The presentation will offer a "first glimpse" at how the creek corridor might look after the improvements, Jay said. "You can see how the concept is transforming into an actual plan based on the properties we have acquired."

City officials hope to have the project's final design completed by next spring.

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