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Burbank Residents Upset By Plans To Acquire Their Homes To Expand Reservoir

BURBANK, Ill. (CBS) -- Imagine getting a letter from the mayor saying your home may be acquired: sold right out from under you. Those letters are going out in southwest suburban Burbank where a plan is in the works near 87th and Natchez to expand a reservoir to prevent flooding.

CBS 2's Mike Parker talked to some worried homeowners.

Now the Metropolitan Reclamation District wants to enlarge the reservoir.

Many Burbank residents who live near the Melvina Ditch Reservoir are upset. It appears the folks who run it have their homes in their sights.

Four out of the past five years, the reservoir has overflowed and the streets and homes nearby flooded. Now, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District wants to enlarge the reservoir to prevent future flooding.

Burbank's mayor sent out a letter telling homeowners, "…the MWRD board voted on Thursday, May 7, 2015 to purchase your property as a means to effect the expansion."

Ana Jaquez has lived next to the reservoir for 10 years.

"I don't know how soon we're supposed to sell our house or when they're going to buy it," Jaquez said.

"It's kind of disappointing that we have to move out of here," said Jose Gomez. "I have been here for 20 years."

But the MWRD Executive Director David LaPierre says it is not yet a done deal and says there will be further studies and community meetings.

"We need to talk to residents about their preferred method of getting to where we need to get to," LaPierre said.

Despite that assurance, Mayor Harry Klein Klein is telling residents in his letter, "I feel a great compassion for everyone involved. My heartfelt wish is that being uprooted will present the least amount of to you and your household."

Mayor Klein told Parker that in his 24 years as mayor of Burbank, that was the hardest letter he ever had to write.

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