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East Central drainage project comes into focus for city

A plan to upgrade drainage in a residential and business area in Mitchell has changed in scope, moving to two phases over the next two summers. Officially named the East Central Drainage Basin project, the city has plans to upgrade drainage issue...

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Mitchell (Republic file photo)

A plan to upgrade drainage in a residential and business area in Mitchell has changed in scope, moving to two phases over the next two summers.

Officially named the East Central Drainage Basin project, the city has plans to upgrade drainage issues in the drainage basin, which is located south of Havens Avenue in the area of the Klock Werks and Patzer Woodworking businesses. The goal is to have the water drain to Dry Run Creek.

Some of that work would take place in Tax Increment Financing District No. 22, which was created in 2016 to build infrastructure and to help spur an addition for Klock Werks and Patzer and the construction of as many as 62 twin homes nearby on East Juniper Avenue.

But the area has had continued drainage issues, which the city hopes to address in the next two years. An updated plan calls for drainage work outside the TIF area will need to be done in 2019, leading to drainage repairs in 2020 in the East Central area.

The 2019 costs are estimated at $4,249,910 and will cover repairs primarily on Main and Rowley Streets over a five-block span south of Dry Run Creek. Additional work on Cedar Avenue and Langdon Street that wasn't initially part of the plan were also added to the scope of the project.

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With the additional segments, the estimated costs increased by $1,251,440 but City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein noted that the city had previously planned to do work in the added areas as part of its five-year maintenance plan and will be more efficient with funds by combining it with the East Central project.

Currently, the city expects to spend $6.3 million, but that includes proposed 2020 costs, as well, which is when the city expects to address the TIF area.

Mitchell Public Works Director Kyle Croce said the improvements in the residential areas will also include reconstructing the streets. The water main on Rowley Street, in particular, is in poor condition and has been needing to be replaced for some time. The plan is to advertise for bids on the project this winter.

"I think this is the best avenue that we have right now and the most economical," Croce said. "There may still be some issues that is in their own lines and their own hot water tanks but we'll still have to communicate and educate the public on that."

There was some concern about whether the work inside the TIF could be completed by the deadline of April 4, 2021, but city officials were confident Monday that could be done. The city's other big 2019 project is the Sanborn Boulevard construction in phases II and III, which will cost about $7.78 million and run from First to Ninth avenues.

"They're both big projects and Sanborn II is twice as big (as this year's)," Croce said of the cost. "But we're in a good position to get locked in for next year."

The city intends to make use of South Dakota Clean Water State Revolving Fund money, or SRF, for the project. That provides low-interest loans to governmental entities for clean water and non-point source pollution control projects.

SPN and Associates Project Engineer Jeff McCormick said there could be some improvements in flooding in the East Central area after phase one because the better piping will prevent water flowing back through the bottleneck. But the majority of improvements will take place after 2020 when the remainder of the storm sewer utilities are replaced.

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The upgrades should help the growth in the TIF area, which generated about $22,000 in increment in 2017, Ellwein said. Council President Steve Rice said any of the improvements and additional future increment is a bonus in an area where about $6 million in new construction was expected in 2016 when the projects were proposed.

"I was concerned about the timing but this has convinced me that it should work," Rice said.

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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