Council considers initial suggestions on drainage issues

The Hillsboro City Council heard at its Oct. 2 meeting the first impressions from its engineer on how to address drainage problems in three residential locations.

Bob Previtera, of Reiss & Goodness Engineers, had been asked by the council to review the three trouble spots that homeowners had brought to its attention following heavy rains this summer.

The first area reviewed was near Birch and D streets following concerns raised about preventing flood damage at the Peter Paul Loewen House on the Mennonite Settle?ment Museum grounds and at the nearby Scout House in Memorial Park.

Among Previtera?s initial ideas for protecting the Loewen House is to add a metal baffle to the drain at the south end of the north pond to keep the top of the drain from clogging shut with debris.

A second strategy would be to lower the spillway that separates the north and south ponds, which would lower the level of the north pond.

Previtera said the Scout House was simply constructed too low. About the only reasonable option for protecting it is to build a retaining wall that would divert water way from the structure?s lower-level patio.

The patio would also benefit from the installation of a sump pump, he said.

The second area Previtera reviewed were the homes along the south end of Floral Street near D Street.

Previtera said the drainage issues there are caused from water coming off inadequately developed land west of Oak Street in the Westwinds development.

His first suggestion was to deepen the ditches along the gravel Oak Street and divert the water south to D Street before it reaches Floral. That approach also would require new culverts at the south end of Oak.

The third problem area he studied involves the houses along Wilson Street south of D Street. Water from heavy rains drains east from the backyards of homes on Adams Street and into the backyards of the homes immediately behind them along South Wilson.

The council had previously agreed that the makeshift alleyway created several years ago between the backyards along that block of Adams and Wilson was unwise. Keeping the land as a grass easement should help absorb rain water.

Previtera went a step further, though, suggesting the construction building an earthen swail of 6 to 12 inches in three key locations for water diversion.

He said because the swails would be built on privately owned easement property, their ongoing maintenance would become the responsibility of the homeowners?who may or may not accept the responsibility.

The council thanked Previtera for his preliminary work and said it would need to discuss his suggestions further before setting a course of action.

Coincidently, during the ?public comment? time at the start of the meeting, Mark W. Pankratz, 218 N. Adams, addressed the council about ongoing drainage issues near his residence.

Pankratz said the recent flushing of a nearby fire hydrant was enough to cause street flooding. He asked the city to find a solution without him having to ?get the neighbors down here and all excited.?

In other action, the council:

n approved the recommendation of the Hillsboro Planning Commission to accept a slightly revised final plat for the recently designated Hillsboro Business Park, which is located east of North Adams and immediately south of U.S. Highway 56.

n in a related decision, authorized City Administrator Larry Paine to proceed with procuring an engineering design for the new business park. Two developers have expressed strong interest in initiating projects in the park.

n authorized Paine to negotiate the annual lease for the skid loader the city has been using.

n accepted a proposal from Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd LLC to conduct the annual audit as well as a single audit for the City of Hillsboro for the next three fiscal years. The firm?s gross fee will not exceed $10,800, excluding the single audit. The latter is a specific audit required by the federal government when cities use grants to finance local projects.

n heard Paine say he is working on a replacement plan for city vehicles. Paine said, given the age of many of the vehicles, the initiative ?will be scary.?

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