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Backyard bogs beset Cicero residents

Mary and Pablo Richner DeColon never dreamed they would have a pond in their quarter-acre backyard on Jillian Road in Cicero. But four years later, that's what they're unhappily stuck with.

"We have green, stagnant water, frogs, rabbits and unbelievably bad bugs. That's not even the worst of it," Mary said.

It's not hard to see why: The easement that residents of Jillian and Jacob Roads share is creeping up into their backyards, something that makes town-ordered maintenance of residential drainage a dangerous chore.

"I get back there when I can with hedge cutters, but it's impossible to mow the lawn," Mary said. "The township and developers have taken turns on deciding who should take care of it, but at this point, I'll believe it when I see it."

Water-weary residents of Jacob and Jillian roads in Cicero gave the town board an earful last week, expressing concern about the failing swales and drainage easements around their houses.

"The water just keeps creeping up and up," said Fred Shaw, who also lives on Jillian Road. "The water's always been a problem, but recently it's starting to get extremely high."

Shaw wasn't alone, nor was he the only one frustrated. Several other residents said they've expressed concern before, but that the situation had become increasingly dire. Many residents brought pictures to illustrate the issue.

"You guys have a problem, no doubt about that," Supervisor Chet Dudzinski told the residents. "And we're going to do all we can to fix it."

The man in charge of fixing it is town engineer Jay Seitz, who said the situation is nobody's fault but the land's.

"The problem with the area around there is that it is extremely flat," Seitz said, who is responsible for maintaining the hundreds of miles of swales in the area.

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