To the Editor:
The purpose of this letter is to provide information on my recent efforts as County Board District Three representative, which includes the areas of Pocahantas, Grantfork, Hamel, portions of Highland, New Douglas, Prairietown, Williamson, Worden, and some Staunton and Edwardsville mailing addresses.
I serve on the Tax Cycle (chair), Planning, Finance, and Transportation Committees.
On Dec. 21, I met with Hamel Village President Larry Bloemker and Superintendent Donald Grimm to discuss flooding issues. Mayor Bloemker provided me a booklet with detailed maps and pictures of flooding along Old Route 66, I-55, and a tributary of Silver Creek. I toured residential properties along Park Avenue and Cassens Avenue and the Old Route 66 corridor south of Sievers Equipment.
Badly needed changes to relieve flooding in the Cassens Avenue residential area and the business corridor south of Sievers Equipment are needed. It appears the state has much work to do correcting broken culverts and silted drainage ditches along Old Route 66 and I-55. In addition, the culvert at Illinois 157 is too small to handle flood waters and apparently needs replacement.
After touring these areas, I immediately contacted State Rep. Charlie Meier, who stated he will contact appropriate personnel at IDOT to help facilitate repairs in state right of ways. Previously, Hamel spent large funds to alleviate flooding. Unless the state acts in concert with Hamel, village money will be virtually wasted. Unless the state acts, flood water will not reach the Silver Creek watershed but will in effect be dammed up due to broken culverts and silted drainage ditches in the state right of ways.
After January 1 I will return to Hamel to see additional Village areas with flooding issues. In addition, I will visit with appropriate personnel in Highland to discuss the proposed FEMA flood map changes. Hamel personnel can’t work on state controlled right of ways without following cumbersome and expensive regulations. I’m concerned local municipalities and villages may be proactively doing all they can to minimize flood damage while larger bureaucracies like IDOT and FEMA may be less than responsive to local concerns.
After assuming office I kept my campaign promise and rejected a county pension and benefits. This should help keep future county costs down.
Philip W. Chapman
County Board Member District Three