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Council mulls drainage fixes for Discovery Circle

The blue areas shown are where spring flooding occurred in the Discovery Circle addition. According to the city engineer, many properties are at elevations susceptible to spring runoff and accumulation.

Several options were presented to residents of Discovery Circle at a public hearing Tuesday to alleviate drainage issues but many people said they would rather not do anything due to cost.

The city received comments about drainage issues in the area at a public hearing earlier this year for a proposed water and sanitary sewer improvement project. The issues were predominantly detected during the spring thaw.

Although the public hearing was to receive comment about only the drainage issues several people brought up the high cost of assessment for the proposed street and utility project as well.

Resident Bob White wanted to know if property owners could vote on the project. The city is not required to go to voters for street and utility projects.

City engineer Jon Olson did some research on drainage in the area and made some conclusions. He presented the findings to the Park Rapids City Council and the public Tuesday.

On the west half of the development water collects and drains to the Timbers Addition and the system frequently becomes overwhelmed. On the east half of the development water collects on the southeast side.

There is a lack of designed water storage. While most of the water collection is a nuisance for residents, a few homeowners reported the need to sand bag the basement and garage doors at times.

Option one is to do nothing, however with street and utility construction the street will be widened and the alignment in the northwest corner will be adjusted. French drains (rock pits covered by turf) will be incorporated.

Option two would incorporate a basin on an existing city lot on the northwest side of the area. This would improve ponding conditions on the west half.

Option three would create two basins. One would be added to the northwest side of the area and one to the southeast side.

Option four would incorporate two basins with curb and gutter. Most people at the meeting were strongly opposed to this option due to the high cost. It would add approximately $7,500 to 44 parcels.

Olson said there are no guarantees that flooding conditions would be eliminated because many of the properties are at elevations that are susceptible to flooding.

Storm and drainage improvements are 90 percent assessable, according to city policy, and another public hearing would be required.

The cost estimate per lot for option two would be about $2,500 for each of 14 lots affected by the basin. This would be in addition to already proposed utility and street improvements.

Most people were in favor of option one or option two.

Some people who attended Tuesday's meeting wondered if city staff had made any progress on applying for grants or low interest loans.

City administrator Bill Smith was not in attendance to answer that question.

Connie Harsha said she had information on a possible funding source of up to $3 million. She told to bring it to City Hall so city staff could look at the information.

Terry Forbes questioned the reason for the project as a whole. He said that residents would not be getting better water through city services.

Amy Yerkes said she moved with her parents to Discovery Circle in August and was told assessments would be about $12,000 by realtors. Later, she discovered at a public hearing the assessments would be higher and that she would also need to pay for someone to run a line from the house to the road.

"I think the problem is communication," she said.

The council approved ordering improvement and preparation of plans for the storm sewer project to get more information before deciding on an option.

If the city decides to move forward with the street and utility project construction would be from approximately July through September.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561