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Relief from spring flooding could come for some residents before Mother Nature turns the spout on.
Construction could begin as early as this week on a new stormwater management system for residents along Wilson Blvd., south of the Deer Ridge development.
Last fall the city council budgeted for stormwater improvement and chose this area to start because of the potential flooding in the area.
One resident in the area said her dining room floods whenever a strong rain happens.
Other residents complained that not only are their yards being flooded, but also some are being washed away through stormwater channels that move through the city and through many resident’s backyards.
About a dozen area residents met with Project Engineer Tony Stanton from Ollson Associates, City Administrator Rick Childers and Councilmen Scott Marshall, Tom Williams and Beverly Gorham to go over two different options for fixing the problem.
The likely option involves building a detention basin using land from the adjacent cemetery. Childers said no one has approached anyone from the cemetery yet but would this week.
Stanton said if the land from the cemetery could not be used there are other options available nearby for a basin.
Stanton said the basin would be designed for what he calls a “one-percent” storm. He categorizes a storm of that magnitude to be more than eight inches of rain in a 24-hour period.
Some residents had concerns that a basin filled with water could pose hazards for small children and a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Childers and Stanton both said the problem of mosquitoes already exists and this would actually help the problem somewhat.
Stanton said the basin would only reach full capacity in the event of a one-percent storm and would drain within 24 hours in most cases. He said mosquitoes need about three to four days of stagnant water or mud to survive.
As for children, Childers and councilmembers said watching children is the responsibility of the parents and guardians.
Childers said the city is starting with this area, but will move on to other areas of the city as funds become available each year. Gorham, who has flooding issues in her yard, said the city must address the worst areas first.
“If we had the money we would go out today and just say fix it,” she said. “We have to take it one step at a time because of our budget constraints.”
Childers said once this part of the project is fixed, the city could look at stabilizing channels downstream to prevent erosion. He said the city would use a combination of rock and vegetation to stabilize channels. He said the city cannot get parts of yards that have been lost back, but they can prevent further damage.
“You’re not going to gain any backyard, but you won’t lose any either,” Childers said.
“Nothing that we do is going to make it rain more or less. We can’t undo 30 years of erosion.”
Some residents said they have complained to the city for more than 30 years about flooding, and say the problems started with the Deer Ridge edition. Childers told them the city has had flooding problems for a long time but never chose to address them.
“The alternative approach is to say, “Oh gosh it’s too big of a problem, so let’s not do anything,” he said. “That’s been done for 50 years and it hasn’t gotten us very far.”
Childers said anytime someone builds a structure, it creates more water shed. He said development in the future needs to look at the potential issues before construction.
“The solution is recognizing problems and doing the best you can to fix the problem,” Childers said about the approach the city is using now. “The solution of saying, ‘Ok nobody gets to build anything again,’ kind of blows both feet off.“
Overall residents said they were happy with the plan because most said this is the first time the city has been willing to help.