River Forest seeks state loan for $22 million sewer project

Then-River Forest trustee Catherine Adduci surveys the lake of flood water immediately behind her rear veranda on the 1200 block of William Street in 2010. | File
Then-River Forest trustee Catherine Adduci surveys the lake of flood water immediately behind her rear veranda on the 1200 block of William Street in 2010. | File

River Forest is looking to the state of Illinois for a loan to pay for a flood-control project on the village’s north side.

The village recently approved an ordinance to request nearly $22 million from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to fund a sewer separation and stormwater management project aimed at reducing on-street flooding and sewer backups in the area bounded by Division Street, North, Harlem and Thatcher avenues.

The project has been “several years in the making,” said Village Administrator Eric Palm.

The funding loan would come from the IEPA’s Water Pollution Control Loan Program, which maintains a revolving fund to help finance similar public works projects across the state. The loan would be repaid with revenues from the village’s Water and Sewer Fund.

Palm believed that the village’s chances of securing an agreement are “pretty good.”

“We’ve forwarded [the request] to village attorneys and the IEPA, and they are on board with it,” said Palm at the village board’s July 28 meeting, at which the ordinance was unanimously approved.

Though the specifics of the agreement are not yet determined, Palm said that the loan, which would mature in 20 years, is expected to be come with an interest rate of less than 2 percent annually. That’s presumably a better deal than what the village would get if it turned to the bond market for project funding.

“This is our priority choice,” said Palm.

River Forest authorized staff to hire an engineer for the three-phase project in December. Palm said that the village would likely have to wait a few months before the IEPA comes back with a decision regarding the loan agreement.

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