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Evansville considers new plan to solve west-side flooding

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GINA R. HEINE
September 30, 2010
— The city is considering returning some of the land it acquired through the eminent domain process this year because the city engineer has presented a new plan to alleviate west-side flooding.

Under the new plan, not all of the 2.9 acres the city bought from William Rundle and Kristine Chilsen for $50,000 would be needed, City Administrator Dan Wietecha said. The farmland is west of the storm water pond at Sixth Street and Vision Drive.


The city council started the eminent domain proceedings in April 2009 to acquire that property and 0.63 acres—an agricultural drainage ditch adjacent to the west side of the Rundle property—owned by the Roxann Grenlund Metzger Trust.


The city had planned to build a larger detention pond after heavy rainfall in August 2007 caused flooding in the backyards of homes along Sixth Street. The problem also had occurred in 2004.


After the city acquired the property, officials were able to take soil borings and surveys at the site, providing a better understanding of the soil and groundwater issues.


“With review of better data and actual site conditions, City Engineer Dave Sauer recommended a revision to the planned storm water improvements,” Wietecha wrote in a memo to the city council. “He now recommended keeping the existing pond at Sixth and Vision streets and providing it with a direct outlet by running a culvert to the ditch.”


A shallow swale above the culvert will be an emergency overflow, and the existing overflow swale through several backyards could be abandoned and filled in, he wrote.


“All of the information led us to say we probably have a different solution than just putting in a storm water pond on the property that we originally were going to acquire,” Sauer said. “We haven’t really gone much farther than that.”


Wietecha still is discussing the changes with the original landowners, and many details are yet to be decided. Wietecha proposed in his memo that the city pay Rundle and Chilsen $30,000 to cover legal and engineering costs they incurred. Because the city already paid $50,000, it “effectively means a $20,000 reimbursement to the city,” he wrote.


The city made a jurisdictional offer of $2,000 for the 0.63 acres owned by the Roxann Grenlund Metzger Trust, Wietecha said. The change in plans does not affect that property.


The best-case scenario could allow for construction at the site in November or December, otherwise not until July or August.


“A lot depends on weather conditions,” Wietecha said.



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