CHICAGO (CBS) — Flooding issues at Ohio Street Beach are making it almost impossible for a Caffe Oliva, seasonal local business, to make it. The owners are calling it their worst May on record. But that’s not the only issue. The rising water is causing beaches to shrink.
Caffe Oliva has been shut down for most of the month.
“We opened on May 1, but a lot of our time has been spent mitigating flood damage, and getting rid of standing water on our patio,” said Luke Chorovecki, part owner of Caffe Oliva.
They were forced to close again over the weekend.
“We essentially have a bunch of pumps going, and we are pumping water coming from the lake back to the lake,” Chorovecki said.
They can only open for a few months of the year, and this month they’re still under water.
Favorite beach spots might be, too.
“If somebody can’t go with their kids and enjoy the beach, I’m sure they’re going to be unhappy,” Chorovecki said. “We’ve been here since 2011, and the beach has probably shrunk by half, maybe even more than that, and that’s because the lake levels have risen.”
CBS 2 called 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly’s office to see if they’re looking into flooding and erosion issues, and never heard back.
Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd) is also dealing with issues on beaches in his ward.
“The Chicago Park District, they know part of their job is to preserve the beaches as a recreational asset. So they’re looking short term measures like dumping additional sand and constructing berms to protect the sand that’s there, but a long term solution is going to require complete reconstruction.”
CBS 2’s Tara Molina asked the Chicago Park District about that, but they didn’t acknowledge those details. They responded to questions with the following statement:
“The Chicago Park District is preparing for the start of the beach season by regarding and eliminating low beach spots with our bulldozers. Lake levels are cyclical and we deal with them as best we can, given the cycle of the Lake at the time. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon and maintenance to beaches and recreational activities changes based on cyclical lake levels. Sand is being added to low beach spots with our bulldozers to regrade and eliminate these areas.”
Caffe Oliva is hoping to be up and running for this weekend, the unofficial start of summer.