URBANA – Art Sadler's days of living next to the "Illinois River" might soon be coming to an end.
For 35 years, Sadler has lived at 2410 E. Illinois St. in the Scottswood subdivision in unincorporated Urbana. Whenever it rains heavily, the street in front of his house floods.
"It doesn't happen every rain," he said. "But when we get a heavy rain, all that water comes off of the corn field. Sometimes it even comes up to the tree (in the middle of the front yard). We call it the Illinois River then."
Relief may be at hand, thanks to a $350,000 grant to Urbana Township that will help pay for storm sewers in the area. The grant, announced Wednesday, comes through the state Community Development Assistance Program.
That money, combined with a $420,000 drainage district property tax assessment that will mostly affect Scottswood residents, will help finance construction this fall of a network of underground storm sewers that will collect and transport runoff before it can enter Scottswood, an older subdivision with 1,297 residents.
"It's a long-term problem that will finally get fixed," said John Dimit, executive director of the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission.
Floodwater enters Scottswood from former farmland that is now part of the 60-acre Weaver Park, between East Main Street and Washington Street.
The plan is to install a temporary berm and drainage tile throughout the park to capture the water before it enters Scottswood. The water would then flow southeast via the tile to a drainage slough that eventually empties into the Salt Fork River.
Installation of the tile should begin in September and be completed next April.
Plans are to install 2,025 feet of 48-inch drainage tile, 1,100 feet of 36-inch tile and 1,400 feet of 12-inch underdrains, said Ted Jeurissen, a community development manager with the regional planning commission.
Some of the tile also will help divert runoff from the new Champaign County Nursing Home now under construction, enabling that project to be built without its own detention basin.
The second phase of the project will be to construct a dry-bottom detention basin in Weaver Park, west of Illinois Street.
That part of the project should begin next year and be completed by 2006, Jeurissen said.
Urbana Township Supervisor Don Flessner said the two projects should help alleviate Scottswood's longstanding flooding problems.
"The drainage in Scottswood has been bad for a number of years," he said. "It was not adequate when it was constructed 35 to 40 years ago. It's a project that will benefit everyone involved."
Jeurissen said the drainage tile will represent a temporary solution to the flooding. Construction of the basin the following year will represent a permanent solution, with the drainage tile then used to gradually release the water.
You can reach Mike Monson at (217) 351-5370 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.