Fear new store plan could put them under water

Gordon Woods / Journal — Clinton resident Marc Rogers, seated left, addresses the city council about flooding concerns in his neighborhood as site work continues for a new Dollar General store.

Residents near new Dollar General site worry about runoff, home values

CLINTON — Residents who live in an area where E. Washington Street converges with Lisenby Street near E. North Street are upset about what a new Dollar General Store could do to their neighborhood.

Developers were set to deliver plans to the city on Wednesday for a new Dollar General on a site near the intersection of Rt. 54 east and E. North Street.  Residents in that vicinity attended Tuesday’s city council meeting to express their concerns about how the project would and already has affected the area.

Anticipating the turnout for the meeting, Ty Eshleman, land surveyor with Peru, Ill.-based project developer Chamlin & Associates was at the meeting to address those concerns.

“I know after the planning commission meeting, there were a lot of concerns,” Eshleman said.  “About traffic on North Street and also about drainage.

When the Journal contacted Dollar General’s corporate headquarters in February, a spokesperson for the company said there was no plan to move its Clinton store from its W. Van Buren Street location.

Earlier in March, residents of the neighborhood told the Clinton Journal about concerns they had about drainage in the area of the project, where preliminary site work was already under way.

On Tuesday, Eshleman said his company was listening to residents’ concerns and attempting to make changes to address those concerns. 

“When this project started, IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation) didn’t want us anywhere near 54,” Eshleman said.

Eshleman was referring to how difficult it can often be in getting IDOT to grant state highway access directly onto a store property.  The planned store site is bordered on one side by Rt. 54 and on the other by E. North Street.

“We went back and gave them some options, and they have preliminarily approved to let us move our entrance to the highway,” Eshleman said.

The change addressed some concerns people living on E. North Street had with the plan. 

Eshleman said the change made it possible for developers to realign the building on the site.

“That will allow us more detention on the east side of the property,” he said. 

The detention pond will handle runoff from the store site as well as from land behind the store that is not part of the project, Eshleman said.

“We’ve designed it to hold more runoff than is actually necessary in hopes that it can slow down what ends up in that drain along north street,” he said.

He said it was unfortunate that was where the water would have to be drained.  But, he added, they hoped the new “over design” would be able to handle the excessive runoff from a large storm.

“We want you to know we did hear you,” Eshleman said.  “We listened.”

At least one resident who responded during the meeting was wary of the number of times Eshleman used the word “hopefully.”

“There are a lot of ‘what-ifs’ and ‘hopefully(s)’,” said Tracy Karr. 

“That is a huge concern.”

Karr lives with her family in the former home of her grandmother.  She said she feared flooding problems that were abated several years ago could come back if the Dollar General project were not done correctly. 

“What happens when this ‘should’ work and it doesn’t work and my basement is completely flooded out,” Karr asked.

• Read the complete story in the Friday, Mar. 24 print edition of the Clinton Journal or now in the Journal E-Edition for subscribers.