The Morris Community Foundation has five main issues of concern for the Morris and Grundy County area that we are working on. One of these issues is planned growth, and the more we get involved with the topic of growth, the more we see that “water management” is and will be a major issue of concern for Morris and the communities of Grundy County for many decades to come.
Now that Grundy County is the 11th-fastest growing county in the nation, the growth is already here and will continue for some time. As the growth occurs, more impervious surfaces, such as roads, roofs, and parking lots, will prevent rain and snow from seeping into the ground to replenish our underground water supply.
Also, if stormwater is not managed properly, the rain that runs off these new roads, roofs, and parking lots will follow a stormwater drain to the Illinois River, to the Mississippi River, and disappear into the Gulf of Mexico, never staying around long enough to have the opportunity to seep into the ground to replenish our water supply.
Therefore we are proud to announce that the next forum in our “Challenges of the Future” series will be Thursday, May 11th, at 7:00 p.m. at My Father’s House of Prayer (the old movie theater in downtown Morris). The topic is “water management” and we will be focusing on two key topics: water supply and stormwater management. This event is free and the public is invited to attend.
As with all of our “Challenges of the Future” events, we have assembled a panel of experts to come to Morris to share their data, experience, and wisdom with us.
Dr. Derek Winstanley, chief of the Illinois Water Survey, Dr. Robert Holmes of the US Geological Survey, and Don Keefer of the Illinois State Geological Survey will lead the discussion of Grundy County’s water supply. I’ve asked the gentlemen to bring specific visual data to help us understand the sources of our surface and ground water, including an underground map of Grundy County. They will also share their thoughts on what actions we need to take to protect and increase our water supply for generations to come.
Scott Goldstein of the Metropolitan Planning Council and Kay Whitlock of Christopher Burke Engineering will lead a discussion of the new stormwater management ordinance that Grundy County now has authority to enact. This legislation is new in 2005 for Grundy and neighboring counties. Our panelists will explain what a stormwater management ordinance will accomplish, how it is created, who the players are, why it’s needed, how much it will cost, and what effect it will have on the future of Grundy County.
The Morris Community Foundation realizes that public funds are limited, but the needs are many, which is why we are happy to host these public forums. We believe it is important to “put our money where our mouth is” and provide a portion of the leadership it takes to retain and enhance the quality of life for our communities.
Whether you are a community or county official or planner, or you are concerned how growth will affect your drainage district, or are just a concerned citizen, we hope to see you on May 11th at 7:00 p.m. at My Father’s House of Prayer for our “Challenges of the Future: Water Management” public forum. We believe that you will learn quite a bit and get excited to see that there are ways that we can control the future of our communities and our county.