Mundelein, Vernon Hills team up to find new water resevoir site
A probable new location for a 2-million gallon water storage facility in Vernon Hills has advanced quickly following a quirky turn of events.
Instead of the initially proposed site near a community park and condominium community, the likely spot now is an out-of-the way parcel owned and maintained by the village of Mundelein.
As proposed, Mundelein would sell the secluded 5.4-acre site, which has been vacant and unused for decades, to Lake County for $425,000.
"It's like a piece of land time forgot and so did everybody else," said Vernon Hills Village Manager Mark Fleischhauer.
Discussions are ongoing, but dealings between Mundelein and Lake County are said to be going smoothly.
"We are still working through approvals but have agreements at initial stages," Mundelein Village Administrator Eric Guenther said. "We hope to close on the property some time in the next couple months."
That would be good news for Vernon Hills, the Vernon Hills Park District and residents of the Carriages at Gross Pointe Village condo community on the north side of Route 45, just east of the Mundelein village limit.
Since 2017, Lake County, which operates Vernon Hills' water system, has been pursuing a location to build a reservoir in town.
Considered a priority for the county and Vernon Hills, the project would ensure water availability during periods of high demand, emergency situations or during disruptions due to equipment failures or other situations.
Several sites were evaluated, but as of last summer, the preferred location for the capped, concrete reservoir was just south of Carriage Green Park, abutting the condo community. The park district owns the land but was encumbered by an easement giving the county the right to build there.
Residents and the park district said it was the wrong place for the facility.
Village officials began looking for other sites and discovered an open spot south of the driving range at the White Deer Run golf course.
"That little piece remained as Mundelein green space, but it wasn't in use," Fleischhauer said. "It was perfect."
The area decades ago had been used by Mundelein as a secondary waste treatment plant but was decommissioned in 1997 and abandoned. Although within Vernon Hills, the site wasn't initially evaluated because it was owned by Mundelein, according to county officials.
"Mundelein was very agreeable to it," Fleischhauer said. "This is a good example of how communities can work together for the benefit of everyone."
The potential change surfaced Wednesday during discussion by the Lake County Board's public works, planning and transportation committee.
"This new location was not a consideration at first," said Lake County Administrator Gary Gibson. "It's a great site."
The project is expected to cost $5 million to $10 million. County officials say the land cost will be offset by construction and other savings.