CHICAGO (CBS) — A massive park in Bridgeport built about 10 years ago has been a neighborhood favorite. So why is a popular deck the park unusable for days at a time, multiple times a year?
CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas checked out the problems at Henry C. Palmisano Park.
Maureen Sullivan describes the park as a vibrant gem of Bridgeport, but part of it – a lagoon where people fish and hang out by the water – is about 30 feet below street level.
“It does cause an issue a little bit with the dock,” she said.
Sullivan said that area of the park usually floods a couple times a year, in the spring and winter.
It has happened for years, leaving a fishing platform at the end of the dock underwater.
Sullivan, who is president of the park’s advisory council, said that doesn’t stop determined fishermen from getting creative to dip their lines in the lagoon even when it’s flooded.
“Seriously, they’re pretty crafty, and they’ll get out here and fish however they can,” she said.
Snow or heavy rainfall can cause water levels to rise in the lagoon, but Mother Nature isn’t the only problem.
The Chicago Park District earlier this month said an overflow pump at the park is broken, and should be fixed within a couple weeks.
A spokesperson said the Park District “has not experienced this issue before,” but a Google search turned up multiple pictures showing flooding in different seasons over the last few years.
CBS 2 asked if a broken pump contributed to flooding in the past, but didn’t get an answer.
“You sort of have to monitor it and see,” said Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th).
The alderman said he’s in touch with the Park District about a possible solution. His office sometimes gets calls from residents about the flooding.
“If there’s a way that there can be a system, or alarm system, that if the pumps go off or if there’s a mechanical failure, that there’s some type of alarm that could be notifying the plumbers,” he said.
That way, the Park District could quickly learn of any future mechanical issues, and get out in front of the flooding.
However, Thompson said sometimes the lagoon’s drainage system simply can’t keep up with Mother Nature.
“The spring is really hard, because we can get a downpour, because we get the 100-year rains every week,” he said.
There’s no question Palmisano Park has come a long way since its days as a limestone quarry, and then a landfill. Bridgeport residents want to keep it a gem, as bright as it can be.