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Public Works: Stormwater system needs total overhaul

Public Works: Stormwater system needs total overhaul

February 24th, 2017 by Sam Richardson in Local News

Heavy rains in August caused flash flooding in Mid-Missouri, which damaged Washington Park in Jefferson City and area homes. Residents of the city's 4th Ward are seeking improvements to the stormwater infrastructure in the area to help alleviate flooding concerns.

Photo by News Tribune /News Tribune.

Through a mix of words, pictures and numbers, Public Works Director Matt Morasch explained just how much in need of a total overhaul the municipal stormwater system really is Thursday at the City Council's Public Works and Planning Committee.

It wasn't a pretty picture he painted for the group, chaired by Councilman Larry Henry.

Using a case study of the Upper Reach Grays Creek Watershed to make his point, Morasch provided the sort of background he is making available to any resident interested in learning about the $36 million stormwater utility fee proposal that is likely to be on voters' ballots in August.

"A stormwater utility fund is a dedicated source of money to specifically fund stormwater services that cannot be diverted," he said.

He said the city needs funds to pay for the replacement of neighborhood stormwater collection systems, flood resiliency projects, regional detention areas, and bridge maintenance and replacement.

Grays Creek, Morasch said, is a 330-acre drainage area bounded by Belair/Norris, Boonville and Main streets. It contains three to four generations of infrastructure with little replacement or improvement. The last 15 years of "shotgun replacement of infrastructure" included a $220,000 project at Forrest Hill in 2016, a $215,000 project at Crest Meir in 2008 and a $170,000 project at Ridgeway Oak View in 2007 — plus multiple in-house projects conducted by the city's street division, Morasch said.

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There are 2.71 miles of open creeks, streams and private collection systems in Grays Creek, along with 2.18 miles of drainage pipes and 79 stormwater inlets all needing attention. The area includes more than 780 single-family homes, more than 30 apartment complexes, two churches, four commercial parcels, Memorial Park and Pool, and part of Riverview Cemetery.

To properly address the stormwater woes just in Grays Creek, Morasch said, would require $7 million.

"A sustainable and flood resilient stormwater collection system will require at least a $2 million annual funding program," he said. The city now has $360,000 a year to place patches over the stormwater problems as they occur and appear following periods of heavy rain — like the flash floods last August and September.

Other business before the committee at its two-hour meeting Thursday:

Interim Planning Director Sonny Sanders discussed proposed ordinance changes pertaining to nighttime and after-hours business operations downtown, as first revealed around Christmastime.

"The proposed ordinance updates were a result of complaints," Sanders said. "Information on the proposed changes was circulated to Downtown Jefferson City, East Side Business Association, West Side Business Association and the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce." Four responses were received, which, he added, are being considered.

Engineer Britt E. Smith received the committee's endorsement of the city's 2017 street resurfacing plan. The plan includes streets scheduled in the coming year as well as streets to be considered in the fiscal year 2018 and 2019 budgets. The city's one-half cent sales tax allocates $1.2 million each year for street resurfacing.

Smith also noted the city would conduct a fog sealing project this year, with work done in late May to early June. Detailed lists of streets due resurfacing and fog are available at City Hall.

Engineer David Bange presented the committee with the agreement between the city and Cole County for the Capitol Avenue and Myrtle Street improvement projects. "In this case, the City is taking responsibility of all aspects of both the Capitol Avenue and Myrtle Street projects and is seeking to share the costs in equal parts with the County," he said.

The city and county has each spent about $5 million of the $5.5 million pledged for joint projects, Bange said. The $1.6 million Capitol Avenue project will require funds beyond the surplus $500,000.

Eric Seaman, director of the city's wastewater division, said the 70-year-old Hayselton pump station will be replaced by May. The East Circle sewer main is being replaced this month, and the sewer main in the 2200 block of Buehrle and Brandy lanes will be replaced by the end of the year.

A contract has just been awarded for the $2.5 million basin 13 sewer main rehabilitation with completion in November. The Frog Hollow relief sewer extension, the Greentree sewer main extension, the basin 17 relief sewer, the St. Mary's Boulevard sewer main replacement and four smaller projects are now being designed.

Bange also reported on completion of the installation of 57 new, tourist-assisting signs and two information kiosks under a $214,000 grant. Known as the wayfinding signage project, Bange said seven local organizations provided $53,500 in funds: Downtown Jefferson City, Discover Jefferson City Foundation, Jefferson City Convention & Visitors Bureau, Capital Region Medical Center, the Jefferson City Parking Division, the East Side Business Association and Historic City of Jefferson.