Garden Hills

Garden Hills Drainage Improvement Plan

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CHAMPAIGN — The city council will vote tonight on contracts to demolish 18 properties in Garden Hills, one of the first steps of several toward addressing the Champaign neighborhood’s longstanding flooding issues.

The city is acquiring 46 properties on the north side of Hedge Road and one along Joanne Lane to eventually build a stormwater detention basin.

The city council will vote on a $192,000 contract with Pontoon Beach-based Shafer Excavating to demolish 16 structures and an $18,000 contract with Villa Grove-based Ezell Excavating to demolish two others.

“Demolition contracts for the remaining 29 properties will be presented to Council later this year with the anticipation that demolition would be completed on all properties by the end of 2020,” city staff wrote in a packet to council.

Asbestos will be removed from the homes before demolition, and afterward, the properties will be backfilled with clean clay and topsoil, according to the packet.

Residents in the to-be-demolished properties were provided relocation benefits, as required by federal regulations, public works spokesman Kris Koester said. That could include reimbursement for moving expenses or rental assistance.

The acquisition and demolition of properties is the first of five phases in the city’s $44 million drainage and street improvement project for Garden Hills.

In Phase 2, the detention basin will be built, something that wasn’t expected to begin until 2030 at pre-COVID-19 funding levels, Koester said.

Phase 3 includes installing large storm sewers to funnel water toward the basin, and Phase 4 calls for installing smaller storm sewers to connect to the larger sewers.

In the fifth phase, all remaining streets in the neighborhood will be rebuilt, from Bloomington Road on the north, McKinley Avenue on the east, Bradley Avenue on the south and Mattis Avenue on the east.