CHICAGO (CBS) — The southwest suburbs are still recovering from Monday night’s storms and bracing for yet another round of rain.
The mayor of Oak Lawn said she has a long term solution for the flooding in her village. However, she could face an uphill battle in making it a reality.
The Village of Oak Lawn wants to turn a field off 111th Street into an area for storm water detention by deepening the ground and running pipes underneath the ground to keep water flowing out of the neighborhoods.
Mayor Sandra Bury said the area would only carry water when necessary after storms.
“We need an area that, when water comes into our system, it will hold it and (later) release it into our system,” Bury said. “We don’t have that.”
The field is in an open portion of the St. Casimir Cemetery, which is on the Chicago side of 111th St.
St. Casimir is one of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Catholic Cemeteries.
“We’ve been talking with Catholic Cemeteries,” Bury said. “Unfortunately, they have said no. We are still engaging. They have new leadership. We are reaching out to them.”
Bury said the village is hoping to purchase the land. They would consider a long-term lease.
She said the overall project would cost more than $40 million. The village is hoping to use about 90 acres.
The mayor said the project would be a “perfect” and “long-term solution.”
“I get that they want to maintain this beautiful, peaceful atmosphere,” Bury said. “But we have an obligation to the living in our community as well.”
According to Bury, the Archdiocese and the Catholic Cemeteries’ new leadership has not accepted or rejected the idea.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Chicago said in email Tuesday that they had never received an official proposal from Oak Lawn to lease the property, although the spokesperson said there have been discussions about the overall plan.
According to the mayor’s office, discussions about the plan have been ongoing for years.