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In a July letter to homeowners living adjacent to the Melvina Ditch Reservoir, Burbank Mayor Harry Klein warned that the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) would be acquiring 15 Burbank homes to make improvements to the Melvina Ditch Reservoir.
At the time, MWRD Executive Director David St. Pierre said Klein’s letter was premature. However it now appears the MWRD is moving forward with plans to acquire those 15 homes.
A Burbank resident whose home has been targeted for acquisition, said he received a letter Monday from the MWRD via FedEx, informing him that inspectors will soon be appraising his property.
The letter states, “The proposed plan...requires the acquisition of your property. Prior to presenting a formal offer to you for the purchase of this property, the District needs to perform an interior inspection to complete an appraisal.”
Appraisals are needed to determine the market value of the homes the MWRD plans to purchase. Illinois law requires a governmental body to first attempt to agree with the owner on “just compensation” or fair cash market value for the property. If unsuccessful, it may ask a court to set compensation.
The homes will be demolished in order to expand the reservoir located at 87th Street and Melvina Avenue to help alleviate flooding that has plagued the City of Burbank in recent years.
The MWRD presented six different reservoir expansion alternatives, labeled A–F, at a public meeting last summer held at Reavis High School. Officials solicited feedback and asked Burbank residents to submit an informal ballot on which option they favored.
The letter to affected homeowners sent this week by the MWRD states, “Based on the feedback provided at the public meeting, and support from the City of Burbank, the District is moving forward with the design of Alternative E.”
MWRD engineers say Alternative E will provide an additional 64 million gallons of water storage and protect over 500 properties from reservoir overtopping. It will also reduce overflow across 87th Street into Oak Lawn. The MWRD estimates the proposed project will cost $22.7 million.
The MWRD said that negotiations for an intergovernmental agreement between the District and the City of Burbank for the project are ongoing.