CROWN POINT | Lake County officials were impressed Wednesday with dramatic changes that have taken place over the summer in once flood-prone subdivisions south of Schererville.
"It's like one of those before-and-after pictures of a facelift," Commissioner Fran DuPey, D-Hammond, said during a drainage board meeting.
Crews recently wrapped up $1 million in drainage improvements for the Heather Hills and Schererville Heights subdivisions, which contain about 300 homes in unincorporated St. John Township.
Lake County Surveyor George Van Til said inadequate and poorly planned stormwater retention ponds and ditches doomed the residential area to frequent bouts of high water during storms.
"This project had been in our master plan for a number of years, but we had no money and then suddenly the sky opened up and we got help from Washington," Van Til said. A federal grant obtained by U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, and county funds paid for the project.
Work began in late July to remove silt from undersized ponds and ditches to more efficiently channel high water northeast to Turkey Creek.
Daniel Gardner, a deputy surveyor, displayed before-and-after photographs of an overgrown drainage way west of Edison Street that was cleared for underground box culverts to carry water away from homes on either side. Workers also cleared nonfunctioning drainage easements filled with trees and other obstructions.
Gardiner said the project was finished on time and under budget.