Suburban Yard Becomes ‘Lake Michigan' After Recent Rain, Homeowner Says

The Chicago area is wrapping up its wettest May on record and standing water is covering many homeowners’ yards. Several sunny days in a row should help dry out your grass, but some neighbors in Villa Park may need a lot more than warmer weather and clear skies to clear water from their properties.

Scott Wesling said he has not stepped foot on his deck in nearly two years because it is surrounded by water. Ducks often paddle on the water’s surface and the sound of frogs fills the air.

“You would think it’s Lake Michigan, but it’s my backyard,” Wesling said.

Westling said his backyard started flooding due to nearby construction about ten years ago.

“It got progressively worse over the years to the point now it doesn’t leave,” Wesling said.

Even his neighbors’ can’t catch a break from the flooding.

“It never really sinks down and the mosquitoes lay their eggs all the time,” said Alison Talcott, who lives two houses away.

According to Wesling, he started voicing his concerns to the village about six or seven years ago. Last year, he paid a $250 deposit and applied for Villa Park’s drainage assistance program. The program allows for residents to split the cost of drainage projects.

But Wesling said he’s struggled to get updates from the village about the catch basin he wants installed in his backyard.

“No one ever showed me any plans or anything else like that,” Wesling said. “They’ve never contacted me. I’ve always had to go there myself.”

However, the village said it has been aware of Wesling’s drainage concerns for quite some time and that he was advised that his project would be completed as part of the 2019 drainage assistance program.

“The Village does not complete projects on a case-by-case basis; to be most financially advantageous, such projects are grouped together and bid out, to be completed by contractors on the Village’s behalf. This allows as many homes as possible to get assistance with their drainage concerns as quickly as possible,” said Kelly Kuechel, confidential administrative assistant to the village manager.

Kuechel added that the first batch of five or six properties participating in the program are anticipated to go out to bid in June and construction is anticipated to begin July. That includes Wesling’s property, contingent on his financial contribution.

“I just want to find a solution to this,” Wesling said.

The village also said a retention pond is being created at a nearby home under construction and that should alleviate some of the flooding concerns of Wesling’s property.

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