Tag Archives: Ralph Tompkins

Stimulus money sought for public works project

Alternatives include applying for low-interest state loan
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Maple Park village officials hope to obtain federal stimulus money for a future water main replacement project in the village. However, they are not optimistic about their chances, so they have a backup plan.

Village engineer Ralph Tompkins said the village submitted its application to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act program in April. He estimated that the ARRA program received 1,700 applications for project funding, and that 50 to 75 percent would be approved.

Trustee Terry Borg said another possible source of funding for the water main project is a low-interest (2.5 percent), 20-year loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

The Village Board on Tuesday agreed to continue pursuing the IEPA loan along with the federal stimulus money, at Tompkin’s advice.

“These are state-revolving funds. There is no guarantee you will get it. But I would not recommend withdrawing the application,” Tompkins said.

Borg said a third option for paying for the $828,000 water main project would be using village funds, but that is the board’s last choice, since the project is not an emergency.

Painting the town—green?

by Lynn Meredith
In less than a month, you will be able to see the new colors of the Maple Park water tower starting to come to life.

Balsam Green is the color the Maple Park Village Board chose for the tower, with Desert Sand for its lettering and emblem. At its meeting on April 6, the board agreed on the colors after declining to go with a costlier two-toned color scheme

“If you would go with the two-tone approach, it would cost an additional $14,000. The alternative is to select a darker color and lighter-colored emblem and save yourself $14,000,” trustee Terry Borg said.

The Water Committee debated whether or not to go with the two tones or with one color. They looked at painting the bottom a dark color and the top a light color in order to mask mold that inevitably develops on towers.

Mold shows less on darker colors but will still need to be cleaned in three to five years, Baxter & Woodmen Engineer Ralph Tompkins explained.

“You get mold because you have cool water that condenses moisture on the outside, and especially in areas where you have dust, the dust will collect on it,” Tompkins said. “You can go around to any water tower anywhere and you’ll see mold on it.”

Borg said that an inspection of the tower showed the need to do abrasive sand blasting, apply two coats of epoxy paint to the pit valve and piping and caulk the overlapping plats. The board approved the cost for the work as not to exceed $6000. Crews from L.C. United will do the work now while there is no water in the tower.

“This tower has not been painted, as close as can figure, in close to 20 years,” Borg said.

The project is expected to start around April 15.

Photo by Lynn Meredith

Scoping out sink holes in Heritage Hills

by Lynn meredith
The Maple Park Village Board voted to take a closer look at an 18-inch pot hole at the intersection of Chester and Fabia in the Heritage Hills subdivision. Public Works Director Eric Pinion expressed concern that the leaking storm drains might cause the street to cave in if repairs are not made.

“It’s a very expensive project, but it’s got to be done this summer, or we’re going to start losing our streets,” Pinion said.

The problem is that the original design called for a rectangular top to sit on a round concrete structure creating gaps where it sticks out on the sides. According to Village Engineer Ralph Tompkins, if the gaps are not properly sealed, the frost brings it up and eventually the mortar begins to fall out. If dirt, rather than gravel, is used to back-fill, it will settle and create hollow spots under the street.

“We’re talking about a design problem. It’s not unique to Maple Park,” Village Attorney Pat Bond said. “If it was built according to the specifications at the time, then there’s not much you can do.”

The problem is common and often shows up 10 years after a subdivision is built, Tompkins said.

The village approved the use of a scoping camera to see the extent of the problem.

“Due to the emergency nature of the pot holes, I move we hire Elliot Wood to dig up and televise both the storm sewer and the sewer line to make sure there’s no significant damage, based on our engineers looking at the viewing, and to go ahead and complete the repair at the intersection of Chester and Fadia,” Chairman of the Streets Committee Mark Delaney said.

MP may get in line

Federal stimulus bill presents opportunity for village
by Lynn Meredith
For the right project, there could be money available from the federal stimulus bill for use in Maple Park, but the possibility comes with caveats. Village Engineer Ralph Tompkins spelled out for the Village Board what it needs to consider in applying for this money on Tuesday.

“Some things have become very clear about how things are going to work, and some things are as muddy as they ever have been,” Tompkins said. “What I’m talking about is money that is going to come through the Illinois EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). It is only good for sanitary and water projects. I’m not talking roads. I’m not talking storm sewers. I’m not talking buildings or anything like that.”

All projects will be funded by the IEPA low-interest loan program that has been in place for decades. A village would apply for the loan, and if eligible, it would get a loan at about 2.5 percent. The stimulus money would be new funds added to the money available for low-interest loans, so the pot is bigger, Tompkins said.

For example, on a $1 million project, the loan would be written for $1 million. The IEPA would forgive $250,000, or 25 percent. The village would never have to pay back that money. The remaining $750,000, or 75 percent, is loaned for 20 years at zero percent interest.

“It’s a pretty good deal. You still have to come up with the 75 percent, but you don’t have to come up with it up front. You can pay if off over 20 years,” Tompkins said.

Due to the amount of paperwork to apply and the cost to the village for that work, Tompkins recommended that the village not apply to get a loan on a small project. He said that a water main project or a sanitary sewer replacement were appropriate projects. Storm water improvements cannot be done under this program.

Tompkins also pointed out that the key to getting the loan is speed. Therefore, the water tower project isn’t far enough along to be ready in time to qualify.

“The only criteria is who can get it submitted, approved and bid first. There’s a fixed amount of money, and when it’s gone, nobody gets any more,” Tompkins said.

The board plans to take up the topic at a combined Streets and Water and Sewer Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 10, at 6 p.m.