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Mayor Rotering Calls Flood Mitigation Meeting

Mayor Nancy R. Rotering Initiates Flood Mitigation Planning Efforts
Representatives from Area Agencies, Organizations, and Neighboring Communities Meet 

Highland Park, Illinois – Mayor Nancy R. Rotering and City of Highland Park staff met with representatives from the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (LCSMC), the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC), Village of Northbrook, Village of Deerfield, and the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) to explore and advance flood mitigation solutions following the July 11-12 storm that devastated parts of Highland Park and dozens of communities throughout Lake County.

The group reviewed and exhausted several possible solutions including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Mitigation Assistance program (home buyouts), localized storage reservoir solution efforts in cooperation with Lake County and the North Branch Chicago River Watershed group, and dredging the Skokie River. The Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) confirmed that even though the property stores over 100 million gallons of floodwater during storm events, no further flood mitigation is available and there is no mechanism in place to assist with flood mitigation efforts during storm events.

The FEMA Floodway Buyout Program is administered by Lake County as agent for FEMA and would require a 25% contribution by the City of Highland Park. Homeowners that meet specific flood-related criteria may apply for a buy-out under the FEMA program. LCSMC will issue information about the program via postal mail to affected homes within the next few weeks. The deadline to apply for this voluntary home purchasing program is November 1, 2017.  

At the time of the recovery efforts, Mayor Rotering issued a formal request to federal, state, and county officials for recovery and future remediation assistance. US Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, Congressman Brad Schneider, and Lake County President Aaron Lawlor have responded. The City provided requested data and continues to work with them regarding possible assistance.

“All flood mitigation options will be explored and evaluated. This is long overdue and must be a priority for the region,” said Mayor Nancy R. Rotering. “The increased frequency, intensity, and impact of flood events prove that it is critical that we must work together and take action.”

A portion of Highland Park falls into the floodplain (see the attached floodplain map). Residents living within the floodplain are susceptible to flooding. By their very definition, these areas require special care and attention. The floodplain map can also be viewed on the City’s website under Interactive Maps (click Floodplain Layer). Flooding results from the two forks of the North Branch of the Chicago River that run through Highland Park. The flooding greatly impacts residential properties located near the Skokie River and the Middle Fork as water flows from north (Old Elm Road) to the south (Lake Cook Road). The Skokie River discharges into the CBG, whereas the Middle Fork drains into the Northbrook Court pond.

For more information about the recent recovery and remediation effort visit www.cityhpil.com or contact the City Manager’s Office at 847.926.1000. For information regarding the IEMA buyout program, please visit www.illinois.gov/iema/Mitigation/Pages/MitigationPrograms.aspx.