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Freeport School Board creates Taylor Park Task Force to combat flooding issues

(WIFR)
Published: Feb. 3, 2020 at 7:19 PM CST
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Over the last several years flooding has caused major issues for one Freeport school causing it to close or even relocate now the community is taking action.

The task force's main priority is to bring people of all different backgrounds together and find a way to provide an uninterrupted learning experience when flooding happens.

"Not only did I go there but my kids went there and my grandkids went there," said Art Ross, Former Taylor Park School student.

Ross went to Taylor Park school, then opened a business across the street and now serves as alderperson for that ward.

“It is one of the main parts of Freeport," Ross said.

Over the years severe flooding has shut down Taylor Park School on several occasions.

"I never have seen flooding like what shut it down last year," Ross said.

Pushing the Freeport School District Board of Education to create a task force.

"They wanted to make sure that there will not be a continuous interruption to learning each year when the flooding happens,” said Freeport School District Superintendent Anna Alvarado.

This task force will be comprised of east side residents, parents, educators, school staff and several others.

"The task force has been focused on reviewing different options for the school that will meet the objectives of the board of ed," Alvarado said.

The city is also working with those living in the floodplain.

"The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has allowed us to purchase 70 properties and homes that have been abandoned east of the Pecatonica and we are in the process of demoing 17 of those properties,” said Freeport City Manager Lowell Crow.

Crow says using a Pre Disaster Mitigation Grant worth $5 million the city hopes to help many more.

"We have 136 residents signed up to go forward and purchase and demo those properties," Crow said.

On February 10th the task force will hold a community forum here at Taylor Park to present their recommendations for the future of the school to the community.