Route 45 to be torn up for months as part of flood-relief project, Mundelein mayor reveals

  • A July 2017 flood caused millions of dollars in property damage in Mundelein. A flood prevention construction project is about 80% complete, Mayor Steve Lentz revealed Monday night.

    A July 2017 flood caused millions of dollars in property damage in Mundelein. A flood prevention construction project is about 80% complete, Mayor Steve Lentz revealed Monday night. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2017

  • Steve Lentz

    Steve Lentz

  • Clockwise from upper from left, Dawn Abernathy, Steve Lentz, Robin Meier and Thomas Ouimet are candidates for Mundelein Mayor in the 2021 election.

    Clockwise from upper from left, Dawn Abernathy, Steve Lentz, Robin Meier and Thomas Ouimet are candidates for Mundelein Mayor in the 2021 election.

 
 
Updated 3/8/2021 9:21 PM

A short but much-traveled stretch of Route 45 through the heart of Mundelein will temporarily be reduced from four lanes to two starting this spring as part of a $9 million flood relief project, Mayor Steve Lentz announced Monday night.

The roadway will be torn up for two blocks between Division and Courtland streets so a large culvert for running stormwater can be installed.

 

Lentz disclosed the upcoming road closure during his 7th annual State of the Village speech. He said lanes will be limited until the fall, describing the project as "hugely disruptive."

But the goal is to create a system designed to prevent the type of flooding that caused millions of dollars in property damage in July 2017.

Lentz also revealed officials plan to hold all of Mundelein's usual community events this year following the multiple cancellations last year that were prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

That includes the Community Days festival in July, concerts in the park, a craft beer festival, the Park on Park car shows and many more.

"We're determined to have every event we can," Lentz said. "We're not going to cancel anything until we absolutely have to."

Lentz also touted downtown redevelopment projects, a pro-Mundelein marketing campaign and continued efforts to help businesses during the pandemic, among other ventures.

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But it was the flood prevention project that led off the mayor's Top 10 list.

Begun last year, about 80% of the planned work is done, Lentz said. Just underway is the digging of a huge detention pond on the former U.S. Music factory site on Courtland Street.

When the pond isn't filled with water, plants there will serve as a sanctuary for butterflies, Lentz said. A park will be built on the property, too.

Lentz's speech originally was scheduled for Feb. 22, but it was postponed due to technical problems.

Lentz's address came as he's running for a third term in the April 6 consolidated local election. He has three challengers for the post: village Trustees Dawn Abernathy and Robin Meier, and Mundelein High School board member Tom Ouimet.

Abernathy said Lentz's speech "shows how much the village board has accomplished in the past year, even through the pandemic."

While Ouimet said he was pleased to hear the village plans to hold community events this year, he criticized Lentz for taking pride in how Mundelein provides emergency dispatch services for some other communities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It seems other communities recognize they can save money by outsourcing these staff functions and (letting) Mundelein cover the employee costs, including pensions," Ouimet said. "Other communities are finding ways to limit their employee costs while we continue to see our employee costs rise. (That's) not a wise decision."

Meier couldn't be reached.

A recording of the speech can be viewed at mundeleinvillageil.iqm2.com/citizens/default.aspx.

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