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Photo by Wendy Davis

John Allhands talks with the Iroquois County Board Management Services Committee about drainages issues behind Loveridge Lane in Watseka.

A request is being made of the Iroquois County Board to work on a drainage issue on its property in Watseka.

John Allhands was at Monday’s management services committee meeting to talk about the issue along Grant Street behind Loveridge Lane. He was speaking on behalf of himself and six other property owners in the area.

For several years there has been ponding on the county-owned acreage west of Grant Street off of Walnut Street, he said. He said it’s a drainage issue, not a flooding issue, and there’s been “massive swarms” of mosquitos stationed there as the water is collected.

“It’s probably a collapsed field tile,” he pointed out, as the area once drained, he said.

This area as well as spots on the east side of Grant Street, east of the jail, and south of the courthouse are all collecting water, he said.

Allhands proposed putting in field tile to let the pools of water run from the railroad track to drain off of Porter. “It’ll get the water draining underground.”

County maintenance supervisor Chris Drake affirmed that there is often standing water by the jail and the courthouse. He said the parking lots at the courthouse/jail can flood, too.

Putting tiling in, he said, could “alleviate a lot of the problems”.

On the list of capital improvements the county wants to do in 2020 is parking lot repairs. Committee chairman Lyle Behrends asked if doing this would extend the life of the parking lot.

“It won’t be a magic fix but it wouldn’t hurt,” said Drake.

Allhands has approached the committee before but no action had been taken on the matter. He originally proposed a cost sharing fix, to be split between the city of Watseka and the county, he said. This was still on the table.

Committee member Sherry Johnson asked if there was grant money available to use on this issue. Allhands said he would look into it, and he wondered if there were loans available too.

The committee recommended for full board approval having county engineer Joel Moore review the site and Allhands’ plans to gather more ideas to report to the committee. The committee also wanted to price field tile versus PVC as the drainage material.

Also discussed at the meeting was the building efficiencies updates.

Drake told the committee most of the work is complete, and things are running smoothly.

“New units are working more efficiently.”

He said the work done by Smartwatt is basically done, and “We’ve had fantastic support from them.”

He said he knows the money the county put into the work was substantial but “It was all a step in the right direction. There will be benefits for years to come.”

Relatedly, the committee discussed electricity bids as Dec. 1 the current contracts will expire. It will go to the full board for approval Dec. 12.

Finally, Drake told the committee the snow plow from the highway department is ready for use, and he has purchased a 30-inch, 15 HP Cub Cadet snowblower from Big R.

“We’re good for snow removal-wise.”

He said there were two applications submitted for the newly created position of as needed maintenance support for snow removal. He said he’ll be having interviews soon.