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Prospect Heights aldermen approved the acquisition of a flood-prone property at 214 S. Wheeling Rd.

The acquisition, approved Dec. 13, will enable access to Tully Park, a Prospect Heights Park District park that is currently surrounded by residential homes.

According to a memorandum on the issue, “it has been a long-time goal of the Prospect Heights Park District to develop a more visible and accessible entryway to the park.”

Located just west of Rob Roy Country Club, Tully Park is a 1.5-acre open area park that is within the network of parks managed by Prospect Heights Park District. Currently, Tully Park is surrounded by residential homes and access to the park is limited.

One of the surrounding properties along the park experiences regular flood problems due to Tully Creek that runs alongside the southern border of the property. The flood-prone property is located at 214 S. Wheeling and has experienced five flooding events resulting in structural damage, aldermen were told.

Through the Flood-Prone Property Acquisition Program offered by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD), local governments, partnering with MWRD, can apply to acquire flood-prone properties. The program provides the funding and resources needed to purchase flood-challenged properties and provide relief to homeowners.

The program requires an intergovernmental agreement between the city of Prospect Heights and MWRD. MWRD will provide funding support for the acquisition of the property, and the city will be responsible for the acquisition, appraisals, making offers, property closing, attorney’s fees, escrow accounts, permits, and demolition, which includes grading and res-seeding the property.

In order to receive MWRD funding, it is required to remove the structure and have a deed restriction in place to ensure perpetual open space use and maintenance of the property. For the funding, MWRD will cover no more than 96% of the offer price.

In the end, ownership of the property will be transferred to the park district, which intends to reimburse the city an amount not to exceed $50,000. The Prospect Heights city engineer estimates the costs to be around $45,000.

Ownership of the property will ultimately be with the park district, and they will be responsible for maintaining the parcel as open space. The park district board voted on Nov. 16 to authorize its executive director, Christina Ferraro, to execute the intergovernmental agreement when all the final documents are in place. The park district authored a legal letter confirming their intent.

The vote approved the city to initiate the steps required by MWRD to purchase 214 S. Wheeling Rd. The motion passed 4-0. There were no challenges to the motion.

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