Floods force businesses to close in Harrisburg, Illinois

A group of business owners who have to close every time it floods want something done to fix the problem. They asked the Harrisburg, Illinois, City Council for help Thursday. Here’s why some businesses are reconsidering expanding in Harrisburg.

Amanda Hunt owns Bright Beginnings Daycare Center In Harrisburg. She’s only been at her current location for two years, and the parking lot has flooded twice. The recent flood forced her to close her doors for a day.

"All of the employees were off that day. All of the parents that had children here had to find alternate arrangements," Hunt says.

She says paying for the flood damage and the cleanup is getting expensive. "It definitely damaged probably around $1,000-worth of equipment," she says.

Harrisburg Mayor John McPeek says Harrisburg floods because the city is in a bowl. He says he was happy to hear the concerns of the group on Thursday.

"Any way that I can address the issue and help these people, I’m going to do it," McPeek says. 

Hunt has plans to expand her business, but is worried about future flooding in Harrisburg.

"Both locations that we are looking at have a little bit of flooding issues. So, it’s kind of scary for us to invest that much money in a new space and not think about the flooding," Hunt says.

Hunt says she and the other concerned business leaders plan to go to every city council meeting until something is done.

McPeek says  that the city is working on building a new retention pond. He says the city has already received federal money for that, but it has to wait for the state to pass a budget to get more funding.

The retention pond is expected to help with flooding, but not eliminate it.

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