Flooding Progress & Roads Rift

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

It took millions of dollars to clean up the Labor Day Flood. Now our local governments will get some of that money back.
The state of Illinois will be dishing out $160 thousand to help reimburse flood clean-up and workers' overtime expenses.
Rockford will get the bulk of the funds -- more than $148 thousand. Rockford Township and Winnebago County will also see some green. Mayor Larry Morissey says it's too soon to tell exactly where the money will go within Rockford. City council will vote on that soon.
On an inter-related topic, the council continued discussion in committee Monday night on how to update our storm water management system. Committee members want to push the Alpine Dam to the top of the upgrade list.
"If that dam were to bust loose, the downstream folks would be flooded out, estimated $270 million in damages, maybe more. It's gonna take $20 million to bring that dam up, to expand the spillway, to bring it up to what I think would be a safe feeling for the residents," says 6th Ward Alderman Lenny Jacobson.
Rockford must pay a quarter of that 20 million dollars to update the dam. The federal government would pay the rest. A feasibility study is required before work can get started.
Keith Creek has flooded over the Alpine Dam four times since the 1950s.
Also at Monday night's meeting, Mayor Morissey praised Rockford's anti-truancy efforts. New figures have just come out showing city-wide truancy is down to 6.5 %, from 9.6% in the 2006-2007 school year.
Finally from city council Monday, Rockford's mayor and several aldermen spoke out in favor the roads referendum, with one notable exception.
Alderman Jeff Holt has recently been outspoken in his stance against the referendum, even airing an ad against it. Mayor Morrissey accused Holt of "playing with politics." But there was no sign of the rift Monday night. Both men say they're ready to move on.


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