Wilmette park commissioners tossed the West Park ball back to their Village Board counterparts Monday, but this time, it came with formal approval of an intergovernmental agreement letting Wilmette store overflow sewage under the park grounds.
All that remains after months of legal negotiations about the village project, and how it will affect use of West Park, is a mirroring approval by village trustees. That should come next week, at the Village Board’s Aug. 26 meeting, Village Manager Tim Frenzer said Tuesday.
Before park commissioners unanimously authorized the intergovernmental agreement at their Aug. 18 board meeting, members of their parks and recreation committee got the high sign from attorney Andrew Paine, who said he and his village counterparts “are on the same page,” and assured Commissioner Jim Brault that agreement gives the district what it wants in terms of park rebuilding, and assurances that the storage tank will be safely maintained.
District Director Steve Wilson laid out the timeline both the park district and the village expect for the project, part of Wilmette’s more than $23 million West Wilmette flood control effort.
Since village engineers and consultants have already started to design the 5.5 million underground tank and its operating and installation peripherals, actual excavation for the tank should begin in October.
Putting the storage tank under West Park, which is situated near the Wilmette-Glenview border on Lake Avenue, is expected to cost up to $18.1 million, including costs for rebuilding the park.
The tank, which engineers expect to help prevent sewage basement backup in more than 1,300 homes after storms once it’s up and running, should be in place by September of 2015, Wilson said. At that point, Wilmette will return West Park to the park district, and the district will install the artificial field surface that Wilmette has agreed to pay for.
“We’re hoping to be open by March of 2016,” he said, with an upgraded recreation field that the district hopes will not only include baseball fields but space for soccer and lacrosse fields.
Costs for the rebuilding have not been solidified, but earlier this year, park district officials put together a rough estimate; in February that price tag ran up to $1.55 million, if Wilmette agreed to include artificial turf.
After the meeting, Park Board President James Crowley lauded the village for its stance during negotiations.
“The village has been very communicative with us about the project, there’s been a lot of back and forth about ‘How do we do this, what’s the scope, who does it benefit, and where are the sore spots?’” he said. “One of the sore spots is that we’re going to be out of commission for a year, but they’re going to help us bring the park back to a better position than it was before they put [the tank] in, and that’s the best thing for the community.”
WEST PARK TALLY
WHAT: Intergovernmental pact
FOR: Village sewage overflow
STATUS: Park board signed off
TO COME: Village OK next week