From the desk of Bob Malkas
I attended the annual Bloom Township public meeting on April 11th. I have been doing it for over 20 years. From the start, my objective in attending has been to represent the interest of Lansing on issues that could impact the residents of the village. It does not hurt if local communities work together to achieve common goals.
Early on it was apparent all the residents of Bloom had one thing in common: the management and the effects of overbank flooding in the Southland. There is a history of events that have caused devastation for property owners.
In 2000-2001 citizens took their concern into their own hands and led movements that got the attention of local leaders. Progress was made. Under the auspices of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, French and Associates, stormwater management experts were commissioned to prepare a Stormwater Management Public Information Resource Guide to lay a pathway for communities to follow to be prepared for future flooding events. That document was prepared and released in January 2000. Its title was South Suburban Stormwater Strategy.
The project was advanced and promoted on March 6, 2001, at a workshop for all Southland communities. It was called Telling Folks About Floods. Participation was extensive. Lansing continued the initiatives and organized their own Flood Advisory Committee that used French and Associates to prepare a local guide for its residents. It was unique because it created a mascot, Sammy Sandbag, to catch the attention of residents.
From my perspective little has been done to implement the recommendations presented in all three documents. In trying to renew interest I offered to share with Bloom trustees my copies of these reports that I have maintained in my personal library. I will not release them because it is possible mine are the only copies that still exist. They would make a difference if flooding concerns are renewed in Bloom and Lansing.
My visit to the 2023 meeting was a follow up to what I brought to their attention in 2022. I will wait to hear from them.
If Lansing reinstated its Flood Advisory Committee it could guide residents into a better understanding of the importance of personally being involved with flood awareness. The final report of the Flood Awareness Committee set the stage for directing citizens to understand why they should stay involved. Residents would be given updates of the benefits of understanding the Community Rating System and the need for a Flood Awareness Week. Projects to teach how people can stay involved in flood mediation projects could be advanced and kept up to date.
Lansing residents should also know a major U.S. Army Corps of Engineer project was approved and now is ongoing to rehab levees on the Little Calumet River. Its implementation schedule projected significant progress would be made in 2021-2022. Someone should have the responsibility to keep updating the public on the progress being made