Sewer work could hit park on campus

Sewer work could hit park on campus

CHAMPAIGN — A portion of a park on the University of Illinois campus could be temporarily dug up for the construction of a force main for a planned upgrade of sanitary-sewer facilities in the area.

The Champaign Park District Board this week gave the go-ahead to its staff to work with the Urbana & Champaign Sanitary District on a proposal to install the main through Washington Park, located on both sides of the 200 block of East Chalmers Street.

Sanitary district Executive Director Rick Manner said the main would be part of a $5 million project to upgrade sewers to meet current and future needs of the campus area.

"This is something we need to do to deal with all the growth in the Campustown area," he said.

Manner said the last major sewer construction on the UI campus took place in 1946.

"In 1946, they didn't exactly plan for 20-story buildings lining Springfield Avenue and Green Street," he said.

The district intends to install a pumping station housed in a structure that Manner described as about the size of a small shed at a parking lot owned by the city just west of Scott Park.

From there, a new force main would be built southward, sending sewage to a pump station at First Street and Windsor Road.

While some of the force main would be built along Second and Fourth streets, one portion of the 6-foot-deep main would be dug from north to south through Washington Park, commonly known at Frat Park.

"Rather than having this in the street down Fourth Street, we would like to have the force main go through the park itself," Manner said.

Manner said the sanitary district would be involved with the restoration of the park after construction is finished.

After the work has been completed, the only evidence of the main's existence to visitors may be a couple of manhole covers, he said.

Manner told the park board he hopes the new sewer line will last 50 to 100 years. He anticipates the project will be completed some time over the next three years. The $5 million sanitary-sewer project would be paid for with the help of a revolving loan from the state, with the sanitary district getting 20 years to pay back the loan.

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