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Historic Town's Flood Concerns Alleviated With Buyouts

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, IL – Established in 1827, Sidney is a township in the ChampaignUrbana metropolitan area. As far back as residents can recall, the village has been confronted with flooding issues. Boating, a sport that is relished today, was a matter of necessity as far back as 1913 for Sidney residents attempting trips into town as water would simply inundate the city’s main street.

“In 1939, water came up to one inch of entering into the town’s hall,” recalls Eleanor Fear, a former librarian for the town. “Since then, it has repeatedly come very close to that, about three inches.”

With more than 50 percent of its landmass located within a floodplain, Sidney’s residents continue to ready themselves for flood events.

“The Salt Fork of the Vermillion River empties into the small creek that runs through the village. We still get lots of rain and lots of flooding,” said Janet Akers, village clerk.

Akers has been the village clerk for approximately 16 years. In that role, she also serves as grant administrator. Sidney’s initial attempt at flood mitigation came in the form of an acquisition project in August 1999 following a July 1993 flood event. The project called for buyouts of 10 homes, which reportedly received the brunt of the flood.

“The water flows all over town but the north end seems worst. These were the houses that sustained the worst damage,” acknowledged Akers. “They would always get the brunt of the flooding. The way the water travels, it’s close to their property.”

Last updated Jun 3, 2020