Army Corps removes Didier Farms from flood relief plan
BY RONNIE WACHTER firstname.lastname@example.org | @ronniewachter October 7, 2013 11:17AM
John Didier, co-owner of Didier Farms, holds sweet corn in his corn field in July 2006. | Buzz Orr/Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 7, 2013 2:45AM
John Didier expressed relief and gratitude Friday, as the news spread that the Army Corps of Engineers no longer wanted to buy his farm land on the border of Buffalo Grove and Lincolnshire and use it as a stormwater retention basin for Aptakisic Creek.
“I’m very thankful for the local support that we’ve got,” the Didier Farms co-owner said. “I’m glad that we’re appreciated here. We’re trying to be a good neighbor.”
For a week and a half, the farm was a piece in the Corps’ plan for flood control along the Des Plaines River and its tributaries. The Didier family’s 80-acre property was targeted to hold 550 acre-feet of compensatory storage from Aptakisic Creek, which cuts through the land’s northwest corner.
The traditional “bathtub” style pond would hold and slowly release stormwater, instead of flooding neighborhoods downstream.
Jeff Zuercher, the Army Corps project manager, confirmed Friday that the Didiers’ corner of Buffalo Grove and Aptakisic roads is now out of that mix. The Army Corps, which unveiled a proposal Sept. 23 in Mount Prospect, still aims to build miles of new levees and retention ponds in the 477-square-mile watershed.
At the meeting, Zuercher referenced competing plans for the land from Buffalo Grove Village Hall and the Didier family.
Buffalo Grove has long hoped to annex the unincorporated Lake County parcel for commercial development. Didier has made it clear that his family plans to keep farming for more generations.
But until Didier hears from the Army Corps, he remains a little nervous about the future of his farm.
Didier noted that the Corps never contacted him about its initial interest in his land. On Friday, Didier said he hopes to hear from Corps officials that they are no longer interested.
“I want to hear that from them,” Didier said.
In addition to community support, the Didiers also received official backing from the village of Buffalo Grove and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. Both boards approved resolutions decrying the Didier portion of the Army Corps’ plan.
Buffalo Grove village manager Dane Bragg said Friday that he was pleased to hear the Army Corps is no longer eyeing the Didier property.
“We’ve spoken with the Didiers recently about their plans,” Bragg said. “They plan to be (here) for some time, and we’re very comfortable with that.”