Driving the Growth
Hanley Wood Market Intelligence (HWMI), a division of the company that publishes this magazine, has identified the primary growth communities in Kendall County as Oswego, Yorkville, Montgomery, and Plano. In 1990, Oswego had 3000 residents. By the end of 2004, the town had become a booming suburb of more than 20,000, making it the largest city in Kendall County and the second fastest growing community in the state.
According to HWMI, the Oswego school district projects that it will need to build one new school each year (three new elementary schools will open in fall 2005) for the next eight years just to keep up. All of this has been driven by development, which has shifted from small builders to some of the region's largest home-builders, attracted by adequate land, healthy median incomes, and home ownership ratios of 85%.
After securing a position on the Champions of Industry list of “America's Top 50 Cities to Live and Work,” Yorkville too can expect a continuing increase in population. The city has already grown from a population of 3925 in 1990 to 8749 in February 2004. In order to keep track of the growing number of citizens, Yorkville conducts a special census every few years. “We now estimate that our population is over 10,000 people,” said Joe Wywrot, city engineer for Yorkville.
The city has undertaken significant steps to meet increasing demands in many areas related to public works. “There are so many significant challenges that I don't think I can name just one,” said Wywrot. “Transportation, schools, water supply, sewer treatment, and open space are all very important.”
Yorkville hired Sugar Grove, Ill.-based Engineering Enterprises to study and design upgrades to the water system. With rapid growth, adequate water supply is always a concern, and Engineering Enterprises looked at several options including the Fox River. “At this time Fox River water is not being considered for use,” Wyrot said. “The city has five deep wells. These supply enough water for now, but at our current rate of growth we will need to construct at least one more well within the next five years and more thereafter. We are adding a water map to our comprehensive plan showing locations for future wells, towers, treatment plants, pressure zone boundaries, and large-diameter distribution mains,” he said.
Identifying locations of future infrastructure is important to allow Yorkville to acquire land needed for proposed facilities. Also, when a development is proposed, the engineering department can use this plan to more readily determine how the proposed subdivision fits in with the planned water system. The city can then negotiate with the developers for funding of specific water improvements related to that subdivision.
Within the past few years, the city has upgraded its water system with three new water towers, new wells, three new treatment plants—two completed and one proposed for construction later this year—and associated water main extensions and pressure booster stations. “The improvements have been built as several different contracts, some by developers using plans designed by the city and with city oversight,” said Wywrot. This work increased the city's pressure zones from two to four and increased storage from 800,000 gallons to 4.55 million gallons.