Kalona moving ahead on flood mitigation
KALONA — Next step in long-term flood mitigation is setting up an English River Watershed Management Authority involving three counties and 14 towns, the Kalona council agreed Monday.
In short, it means a 28E agreement to create a management entity to assess, monitor and reduce flood risk in the “watershed boundary of English River and adjoining tributaries.” Those involved would be Kalona, Wellman, North English, Riverside, Keswick, Deep River, Parnell, South English, Barnes City, Millersburg, Webster, Gibson, Kinross, Guernsey; and Iowa, Mahaska and Washington counties.
City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh explained the five-page agreement will be reveiwed by the city’s attorney (and probably other city and county ones) and will be a central part of a large meeting for all, to be followed by smaller ones.
“We need to set up a meeting, in a neutral place, for all, who can each send representatives to it,” he said. Depending on the response and resources that result, the next stage would be long-term flood mitigation work. Creation of the suggested management authority is a direct result of last year’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mapping of Kalona and the county itself. From the start, Kalona, which initially found about half of itself designated as being in a floodplain, undertook efforts for more detailed mapping, especially with the help of the Iowa Flood Center (IFC) that both reduced the floodplain area as well as offered mitigation strategies. Earlier this month, the council hired Jodi Bailey of Hills, an urban planner, to help with the project and setting up the management authority.
The council also considered another water issue: a detailed engineering study of the west drainage ditch (officially now Salvesen Creek) to create a working model for flood mitigation that could include buffers and drainage basins. Estimated cost is $10,000 to $12,000 for the study which will involve the city’s consulting engineers, Garden & Associates and the IFC. Schlabaugh said it likely would be done within three weeks. Funding will be from the city’s TIF fund.
Council member Dave Bentley asked if the county engineer could be considered, suggesting the cost could be less.
Mayor Ken Herington wondered about the time frame, especially if the city engineer is selected. “
If it is too long, Garden & Associates may not be available,” he noted. Schlabaugh said he will check with the county.
Work is expected to start after July 1 for another project, the A Avenue storm sewer segment that will see replacement of a variety of old wood, tile and metal lines. Engineering costs is estimated at no more $66,025 and Schlabaugh said the city needs to meet with property owners in the area which involves pastures and cornfield along the southside of A Avenue south of the city’s maintenance shop. Easements, estiamted at $2,000 also may be needed, Schlabaugh said.
In other business, the council:
•learned that the community building meeting March 13 was “well attended” and the committee will meet regularly at 7 p.m. the first and third Wednesdays of the month. A letter explaining the proposed joint project with the Mid-Prairie School District and a survey asking what residents would want in the center is being mailed out, said Schlabaugh. Deadline for response is March 31;
•approved purchase of a new mower from John Deere at a cost of $11,950 after municipal discount and trade-in allowance;
approve additional signage for the city;
•learned that Schlabaugh will meet with the DNR regarding a compost area for the city; and
•that there are two concrete contractors who will discuss city park upgrades hat are part of the approximate $62,000 renovation project.