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Crystal Lake residents frustrated with city response to flood

Residents frustrated with city’s response, lack of financial assistance

Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 11:08 a.m. CDT

CRYSTAL LAKE – North Shore Drive residents urged city officials Tuesday to find solutions and provide assistance as homeowners on that street continue to deal with flooding issues from the June 26 storm.

Michael Thinnes and Patti Congine told City Council members their homes remain uninhabitable after the storm because of roughly 4 feet of raw sewage water that flooded their basements.

Congine said she had more than $70,000 in damage, was told by county health officials to leave her home and needed shots because of potential disease exposure.

“You can condemn the house. We’re done,” she said, noting the house could never be sold. “Something needs to be done.”

Homeowners questioned whether the city’s sewer systems failed, but staff guaranteed that was not the case. Both sides wondered why city insurance denied to cover the damage, but Crystal Lake Fire Chief James Moore said the city’s request for federal emergency funding is still pending and could result in assistance.

City officials will hold an open house on Tuesday at City Hall, 100 W. Woodstock St., for residents to learn more about what the city has done in response to flooding and ask questions about assistance they could receive.

Thinnes said the lack of answers has been frustrating, especially with the recurring problem of sewage water flooding basements.

“If it was just rainwater, I can deal with that,” Thinnes said. “But I can’t bring my 3-month-old son home.”

Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley said city staff has worked tirelessly since the June 26 flooding and wanted to assure residents officials are still looking for any resources to help those who need it.

Erik Morimoto, director of engineering and building for the city, said it was one of the worst storms in the city with 62 reports of flooded basements, 50 road closures and a collapsed roof.

Shepley said the massive amount of damage could make it impossible to satisfy all residents.

“We can’t be everything to everybody,” Shepley said. “But we’re going to do everything we can to help to find ways to help the homeowners who need it.”

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