From AP - News Headlines -

Neighborhood Flooding Has Some Champaign Residents Seeking Help

Flooding from last Friday's heavy rainstorm was too much for a group of neighbors living south of the Kraft plant in Champaign. They want the city to do something about the poor drainage in their neighborhood.

James Creighton says his neighborhood has it worse than anyone, and he doesn't just mean last Friday's downpour.

"I believe it was Council member (Karen) Foster who asked three of four weeks ago if John Street was the worst neighborhood. And the answer was no, it was Copper Slough -- my neighborhood, south of Kraft, that's the worst neighborhood," Creighton told the council

He was among about a dozen people from the Copper Slough or Washington Street neighborhood located between Prospect and Mattis who came to Tuesday night's Champaign City Council meeting for some flood relief. They brought photos and eyewitness accounts of flooded basements and streets from last Friday and from previous rainstorms. Mary Ann Keith says last Friday's floodwaters came at her from both sides.

"When the water comes from Prospect, it comes from Mattis," Keith said. "It drains both directions. We actually stand outside and watch it come down the street."

Mayor Jerry Schweighart says the problem is a big one, and fixing it won't be easy. An upgrade of the neighborhood's storm sewer system would cost the city millions of dollars it doesn't have. In the meantime, Champaign's Neighborhood Services Department will hold a meeting in the neighborhood next week to listen to people's concerns. And City Engineer Roland White says new eco-friendly techniques like water permeable pavements and raingardens to hold in groundwater could help limit the degree of flooding during future rains.