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‘It’s frustrating’: Alton residents recover from last week's severe weather

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Across the Valley, people are working together to recover from last week's severe weather and an Alton neighborhood is finally getting some long-awaited relief.

For Osvaldo Rivera and his neighbors, any time rain is in the forecast, they know they have to move quickly.

Rivera says the North Stewart Boulevard area has flooded after every severe weather event, but the drainage is just one of the issues.

"Apparently, this is a drainage that supposedly is to take the water, so we don't get flooded," Rivera said. "[But] this is not a working drainage."

There are two issues with a particular drainage ditch in Rivera's neighborhood: the muck buildup near the ditch clogs the water flow and there's barely any difference between the group level and where the water is supposed to flow.

"It's frustrating," Rivera said.

Earlier this month, the city of Alton's application for financial assistance was approved, but City Manager Jeff Underwood says the $8.5 million in flood infrastructure funding comes in two forms.

"We did receive approximately $2.5 million, a little bit over that, in grant," Underwood said. "The remainder in loans to pay back over time."

But the large-scale drainage project won't be done for a few years, and until then, Underwood says pump teams are ready to respond to help residents.

"Everything's ready to go, the crews are on standby, and we do have limited staff, but when we have these events, it's all hands on deck," Underwood said. "We're all out there doing what we have to, to make sure our residents stay as safe as possible."

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