Oglesby: No progress yet on fixing Heritage and Oakwood avenues basement flooding

City engineer proposes a $17,000 solution, plus relocation of utilities

Oglesby City Hall

Oglesby might have hit upon a solution for the ongoing drainage problems at Heritage and Oakwood Avenues – but nobody seems to want to pay for it.

Monday, Oglesby Mayor Dom Rivara said the city engineer proposes digging a ditch to collect water from the rear of the homes. The base cost is $17,000, plus relocation of utilities.

“This has been an ongoing problem for years,” Rivara said, acknowledging recurrent problems of basement flooding in the adjacent homes.

But no one expressed any willingness to pay the $17,000.

Tony Stefanelli, one of the affected residents, said he and his neighbors weren’t looking for the city to foot the bill in its entirety.

“I think we just need to sit back down and hash it out a little bit,” he said. “I don’t think that’s asking much.”

However, Commissioner Terry Eutis said he was leery of setting a precedent where the city incurs responsibility for flood problems for which the city isn’t responsible.

Commissioner Jason Curran said he, too, was unpersuaded by the notion the city bears responsibility because the past council OK’d a design that later proved problematic.

“Could it have been done better?” Curran said. “Absolutely, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the fault is on the city.”

When it became clear no consensus would be reached, the council voted 4-0 (Commissioner Jim Cullinan was absent) to table the issue for later discussion.

“Let’s come up with a plan to resolve it,” Rivara said.

Separately, Rivara announced the formation of a not-for-profit group called “We are Oglesby,” which meets Aug. 17 at the Oglesby Elks. The group is open to any and all ideas to make the city a better place to live.

Finally, the council agreed to send out for bids for construction of the city-owned parking lot to be located at 246 E. Walnut St. The engineer’s estimate is $43,995; 74% of that ($32,556.30) would come from the TIF fund and the remainder would come from the general fund.

In other matters, the council:

  • Granted a request to hold the Holy Family Shuffle on Oct. 1
  • Referred a proposed text amendment to the Planning Commission. At issue is a free-standing, but currently non-compliant, sign by Mr. Salsa’s
  • Tabled a donation to the National Walleye Tour