Champaign council to consider West Washington Street storm water plan
CHAMPAIGN — Residents of a flood-prone central Champaign neighborhood could begin to see relief in 2014 if the city council chooses to move forward with plans for a $2.1 million storm water detention park just west of Washington and Russell streets.
The area is known as the West Washington Street watershed, and it is one of three residential areas where city officials have been focusing much of their efforts to fix decades' worth of flooding problems.
City council members will discuss drainage plans for that neighborhood when they meet in study session at 7 p.m. today in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.
The West Washington Street neighborhood was largely left out of the spending on storm water improvements in 2010 when city officials borrowed about $25 million to fix flooding problems in two other Champaign neighborhoods and along the Boneyard Creek near campus.
There was some money from that pool available to purchase and demolish homes on Robinson Court — a project that cost just more than $1 million — but not enough to proceed with expensive construction of detention basins and sewer lines.
That Robinson Court site has since been cleared and will be the location of a new detention basin designed to collect excess storm water. It could be refined with walking paths, lighting, rain gardens and a gazebo.
If the city council supports the project tonight, officials will move to finalize the design, and construction on the $2.1 million project could begin in 2014, according to a memo to the city council. The cost would be covered with funds that will be freed up when the city starts billing property owners this year for a new storm water utility fee.
The Robinson Court detention basin is the first phase of a three-phase project to fix flooding problems in the West Washington Street neighborhood, but city officials say residents should start see flood waters recede upon its completion.
The city would next build detention basins along Glenn Park Drive and a new storm sewer under Washington Street. The third and final phase includes new storm sewers underneath Edwin and James streets.
Storm water runoff in the West Washington Street neighborhood drains into the Copper Slough, a creek that runs along the west side of Champaign.
City officials plan to develop a financing plan for the West Washington Street project and future improvements to the Boneyard Creek, and they are scheduled to present that to the city council this spring.