CHICAGO (CBS) — Residents of the Albany Park neighborhood have again raised concerns they could be the victims of flooding along the Chicago River if the city doesn’t do something to address the problem.
WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports sandbags placed along the end of the 5000 block of North Monticello Avenue last spring, at the edge of the Chicago River, were still in place this week.
The National Weather Service has said the North Branch of the Chicago River swelled to high levels in Albany Park thanks to this week’s storms, though it’s still several feet below flood stage and receding.
However, longtime residents said rainy weather still makes them nervous.
“The sandbags, you just see them right on our street. If you go over to Lawndale (Avenue), you’ll see that there’s nothing there. It’s like having one finger in the dike, and a whole bunch of other holes,” said one woman who asked to be identified only as Pam.
She said she and her neighbors have had too many battles with the city already about how best to prevent flooding from heavy rain.
“I don’t know how many meetings people have been to. I mean, every single entity,” she said.
Several projects have been slated to protect Albany Park residents from flooding along the river, with completion scheduled for 2016, but residents believe the city is coming to the party too late, and they’re worried about flooded basements before the city can fix the problem.
“For the time I’ve lived here, people have been trying to get a berm to be built to protect us. I mean, how hard is it to build something that’s above ground?” Pam said.
She said she’s had as much as 6 feet of water in her basement when the river has flooded before.
Last April, residents of the same block complained the city was too slow to get them sandbags when a spring storm hit and the River flooded. They said sandbags didn’t arrive until their basements already had flooded.