DuPage County applying for $7M HUD flooding grant

WHEATON — DuPage County municipalities might get some monetary relief from the flooding last spring that ripped through the Chicago area.

The DuPage County Board on Tuesday unanimously approved an application for a $7 million Flood Assistance Grant from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“$7 million is a significant grant,” Development Committee chairperson Sam Tornatore told the board before the vote.

If approved, the money from the grant will be used to address several different problem areas, including:

$3 million for the construction of the Klein Creek watershed flood control project at Armstrong Park in Carol Stream.

$2.7 million for the purchase of as many as 14 different DuPage properties in areas prone to flooding.

$500,000 for a municipal “match program” for buyouts of property and other infrastructure projects

$300,000 for mold remediation and rehabilitation in 60 different properties.

$490,000 for planning and administration.

The purchase of properties throughout the county will involve identifying residences that have been repeat victims of flooding and offering the homeowners a buyout with the stipulation they won’t buy property in another flood-prone area.

The $2.7 million figure is what county staff members estimate will be needed to buy from 10 to 14 residences, although the properties they plan to buy haven’t been determined.

The municipal match program is aimed at local governments that have their own buyout programs. The HUD grant then would match 50 percent of what the municipality pledges for the buyout.

A successful application requires putting together an action plan — already done by county staff — and adhering to HUD’s requirement that at least 50 percent of the funds benefit low- and moderate-income areas.

The purchase of homes and buyout options for various properties throughout the county are thought to be especially critical in preventing future flood-related costs, with some properties suffering through serious flooding more than once.

“I think municipalities would welcome this option,” said board member Gary Grasso, the former mayor of Burr Ridge.

Peter DiCianni also comes from a municipal background, having served as the mayor of Elmhurst, and he noted theAddison area alone had 14 to 17 properties that might qualify for a buyout.

DiCianni asked if some municipalities might balk at the prospect of coming up with the 50 percent to gain the matching funds.

“We can certainly look at making adjustments,” said Mary Keating, director of community outreach.

HUD is expected to decide on the grant by early June.