Resident outlines his flooding misery

RANTOUL — A Rantoul man said his house has been at the mercy of flood waters since he married and moved there in 2005.

Rick Wollmer of 235 Alexander Drive said he moved in with his new wife, Monica Reynolds, and have had numerous flood problems since.

Wollmer said whenever the area experiences a rainfall of 2 inches or more, the intersection of Cheryl and Alexander floods. The water will come up their driveway, and 18 to 24 inches of water will surround their home.

“The basement usually gets 6 inches of sewage and rainwater, and cars will stall in the intersection,” Wollmer said.

“If we are lucky and we are home ... and not on vacation, I would have to wake up in the middle of the night if was raining hard and I could hear it and move the cars out of the driveway in a mess of sewage, condoms and applicators and God knows what that is in this water.”

He said in the last 15 years they have lost flooring, carpeting, furniture, holiday decorations, knickknacks, refrigerators, electronics, have had to have rugs cleaned and have had to pay for new drywall, mudding, painting and installing a rubber floor in the basement.

“To us it’s not just a basement,” Wollmer said. “My wife has a daycare business in that basement. When it rains that hard I have to pick up these kids on my shoulders, walk through our back door through 3 feet of water to get them to their parents on Gleason to pick them up many times in the summer.”

He said they have a storage area, man cave, guest bedroom, bathroom and laundry room that has been cleaned and repaired numerous times — none of which is covered by insurance because their home is not in a flood zone. Even if it was, he said, he could not afford the premiums.

Wollmer said he has had to use vacation and comp time to deal with the problems. He has built brick walls in front of his house to try to stem the water, but it has not worked.

The basement has black mold, and he doesn’t want to pay any more to replace drywall, insulation and paneling in the basement.

Wollmer said he will soon be eligible to retire, “and how do I sell my house? Nobody wants to buy a house that (is prone) to flood.”  

Wollmer spoke at last week’s village board study session. Also at the meeting, Kristian Hopkins, director of the local Big Brothers Big Sisters program, provided a reminder of the bowling event that would be held Saturday in Rantoul as a program fundraiser.

He said the fundraiser has had a “great turnout” this year. He said Rantoul City Schools had signed up 70 bowlers alone.
The effort had collected more than $5,000 online and more than $5,000 in sponsorship money.

Other business
— Mayor Chuck Smith introduced Cynthia Rouse as the village’s new human resources director.
He said Rouse had worked for several years in that same capacity at Jeld-Wen, Rantoul.

— Trustee Sam Hall lauded the work of Recreation Superintendent Luke Humphrey and Youth Director Andy Graham “for continuing to work to put together programs for our young adults ages 16-24.” Hall said he has been talking with Graham about setting up an open gym night once a week starting in April “to keep those folks engaged in positive things.”

—Hall also asked that people remove campaign signs within 48 hours after the April 2 election — especially around the major routes of U.S. 136, U.S. 45 and Maplewood Drive.
Smith said in the past, campaign committees have done a good job of having signs taken down the night after an election.

— Comptroller Pat Chamberlin asked the board to approve at the March 12 meeting a five-year contract with Clifton Larson Allen to audit the village’s books. The village would pay $71,500 the first year — a savings of about $5,400 from the previous audit contract. The five-year contract would total $365,000.

— The board was asked to approve a $29,850 contract with Deem Landscaping for the installation and maintenance of 22 flower beds and 49 free-standing planters. Deem submitted the lowest of two bids. In the past, the work had been done in-house. Deem would also be paid $130 per time for watering and de-weeding.

— The board was asked to approve the purchase of two vehicles for the police department — a 2019 Dodge Caravan for $21,900 and a 2019 Ford Transit XL van for $27,500, both from Shields Auto Group, Rantoul.


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