Friday, August 13, 2010


Ald. Emma Mitts lends a hand to Streets & San crews and a front-end loader in clearing flood debris from 37th ward alleys. Along the way, she spoke with homeowners and called Gov. Quinn & Sen. Durbin to view the damage. (Photo by Brad)
Ald. Emma Mitts confers with Streets & San Division Director Tommie Johnson & crew members about the flood clean-up efforts throughout the 37th ward. Johnson says the flooding is the worst and most widespread damage he has seen in his 21 years working for the city. (Photo by Brad)

    The torrential storms that battered Chicago two weeks ago left a wake of destruction totaling millions of dollars. The 37th ward was the hardest hit of any Chicago community and homeowners are still cleaning up from flooded basements.
    Tommie Johnson, Streets & Sanitation Division Director, says this is the worst and most widespread damage that he has seen in his 21 years working for the city. He said he had 37 garbage trucks working the ward’s alleys picking up water-soaked belongings being thrown out by residents. He notes that one truck picked up 50,000 pounds of debris from one alley alone between Rice & Iowa in a few hours of one day. Johnson says it usually takes a truck an entire day to pick up half that amount of garbage on an entire route of the ward.
    Johnson also says there have been two waves of flood debris being set out in alleys as homeowners make progress in sorting through belongings and trying to rescue salvageable items. He says he is expecting another heavy wave of garbage being set out and is preparing to meet the demand.
    Alderman Emma Mitts opened her ward service office to assist more than 3,000 residents fill out flood damage claim forms. Her staff then delivered the claims to City Hall for processing. She also called Governor Pat Quinn and U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, telling them they need to visit Austin and inspect the damage so they can add their support for disaster relief. FEMA investigators have been in the area surveying the extent of the damage. They will make recommendations regarding a federal disaster declaration by the President.

Ald. Mitts discusses flood damage with a 37th ward building owner during her tour of the community. (Photo by Brad)
Ald. Emma Mitts examines a flood damage claim before sending it to City Hall with more than 3,000 claims her staff helped ward residents prepare in her office. (Photo by Brad)
A 37th ward homeowner thanks Ald. Mitts for her compassion and efforts to bring help in the wake of the floods. (Photo by Brad)

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