Drainage plan remains top priority for city council

Staff reporter

It seems relatively simple.

A bathtub is filled with water and before overflowing, a plug is pulled to prevent water from running where it's not supposed to.

Unfortunately the "bathtub" is a good portion of the southwest part of Hillsboro and the "plug" is some sort of drainage ditch that can handle water as it collects on streets and alleys.

Hillsboro City Council and city officials have been battling drainage issues for what seems like forever with no easy solution in sight or funding to do it.

At the May 6 council meeting, the city's consulting engineer, Bob Privatera, told the council that drainage issues on D and Oak streets couldn't be addressed until a study is completed for West Winds Addition.

Privatera commented that the area between A and B streets is extremely flat and engineering probably won't help. The city may need to consider changing the level of the streets but Privatera said he was hesitant in saying that unless the streets are paved.

He also noted that the streets look like alleys because the intersections are laid-back curbs and have not been properly cut for a street. With that said, Privatera suggested the intersections be cut for streets.

Another notation made by the engineer was a ditch on the north side of B Street that is flat with no grade or elevation.

"Draining a ditch to a paved street is not good," Privatera said, and suggested the street between Floral and Pine be paved.

Another recommendation was a drainage area at D and Oak streets. However, Privatera told the council that these were preliminary findings and not a formal report.

Councilman Bob Watson asked if these drainage ideas would affect the Scout House at Memorial Park? Privatera responded that it probably would help that situation but the volume of water would stay the same.

When West Winds develops, Privatera said there probably would need to be some sort of run-off constructed, similar to that at Hillsboro Business Park, to accommodate drainage.

"The key is to distribute the water evenly," he said.

Councilman Byron McCarty suggested the drainage ditch behind the city cemetery be cleaned out to help alleviate flooding on North Adams.

Mark Pankratz, 218 N. Adams, Hillsboro, asked the council if drainage plans included his neighborhood.

City administrator Larry Paine told Pankratz that the city will review the situation

McCarty said he didn't want city personnel cleaning out ditches but suggested the city hire someone to do it.

Privatera said he planned to have the West Winds Addition study completed by the next regular council meeting and it was a priority because it encompassed a larger area.

The council also was informed by Privatera that the city airport project was "good to go."

The city received grant funding from Kansas Department of Transportation, aviation division, for a plane turnaround area, south of the runway, lighting for the approach, and replacement of a fuel tank system.

The city is responsible for the entire cost of the design but only 10 percent of the construction.