Heavy rain swells Blackberry Creek through Kendall … again
By Steve Lord firstname.lastname@example.org April 19, 2013 4:02PM
Ashleigh McCallum (top) and her friend Hope Allen, both 11, climb Ashleigh's play set that sits outside the sandbagged area, protecting the McCallum home from the rising floodwaters along the Blackberry Creek in Willowbrook Subdivision in Kendall County on Friday, April 19, 2013. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 20, 2013 1:54PM
YORKVILLE – By mid-day Friday, Scott McCallum’s usually large backyard existed of submerged playground equipment, sandbags and a gas-powered pump.
“And all I’m doing is keeping pace,” McCallum said, looking out the windows of the family room.
It’s something McCallum and his family, who live on Park Lane in the Willow Brook subdivision here, are used to, particularly because they live in the flood plain along Blackberry Creek.
They have lived in their house for 12 years, and this is the third time since 2007 they have faced Blackberry Creek far exceeding its banks, covering the backyard and flowing like a river past their house. And they didn’t even live there for the flood of 1996 that saw historic flood levels for most of northern Illinois .
“I spent Thursday sandbagging, and last night I brought in the extra trailer full of sandbags,” McCallum said. “I was up at 2 a.m. sandbagging. I hear in 1996, it was flowing right through the house to the street. They evacuated the whole subdivision.”
McCallum and a nearby neighbor were among the few who actually had to sandbag, and he thanked Bristol Township Highway Commissioner Jeff Corniels for providing the sandbags and helping out.
But many properties along the creek had flooding in their backyards.
Just downstream, at Blackberry Oaks Golf Course, Jim Campbell, course manager, was making comparisons between this past week and the flood of 1996. He has managed the golf course for the 20 years it has been open and he said this is probably the second worst creek overflow through the golf course he has seen. Talk about a water hazard - the water was flowing rapidly through course Friday, making islands out of some of the greens.
The course had to cancel its Spring Scramble, with 88 golfers signed up, for this coming weekend.
“We’ve had the creek overflow before, but it goes down right away,” Campbell said. “This is going to take a little longer. We won’t be open until Monday or Tuesday. The creek weaves through the course, and it’s a great asset. But when this happens, it can be a detriment, too.”
McCallum said his house, which was built with the rest of the Willow Brook subdivision in the mid-1960s, should never have been built. It has been targeted by the Conservation Foundation as one of three along the creek in that area that should be torn down.
McCallum said when he bought the house, it had only one previous flood listed, and that was in 1996. But with three in the past five years, McCallum said he thinks it’s obvious that development upstream has affected water runoff into Blackberry Creek.
As he watched his daughter Ashleigh, and her friend, Hope Allen, play until the ball they were tossing got swallowed by the creek, McCallum said he would have no problem moving.
“If it didn’t flood, I would love the house,” he said. “But I didn’t sign up for this.”