The Commerce Journal

Local News

May 16, 2014

City plans to reduce flooding in neighborhoods south of Culver

COMMERCE — City Manager Marc Clayton hopes to secure funding in next year’s budget for a drainage project that will alleviate flooding in south Commerce.

According to Clayton, the city commissioned a city-wide engineering study from the Paris-based firm Hayter Engineering in 2010, and he hopes that work can begin in 2015.

But the project, which could take two-to-three years, must first be approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, which could add to its length.

“Anytime you’re talking about affecting water ways, you have to get approval from the Corps of Engineers,” Clayton said.

The project would dredge a drainage creek to the South Sulphur River, alleviating flooding that occurs south of Culver Street. According to local resident Monty Wyse, who has lived in Commerce for 25 years, the flooding has had a significantly negative impact on the neighborhood for decades.

“The city should never have taken over [the subdivision],” he said. “But now the city is responsible for taking care of that area.”

Wyse said that the city has attempted over the years to fix the flooding by adding a concrete alleyway west of Arapaho Road and by dredging a new ditch, but that the fixes only worked temporarily. Construction both north and south of Culver has increased the amount of water that builds up south of Culver. Houses near the end of Arapaho, particularly on the east side, which is lower than houses on the west, will sometimes be damaged by flooding.

"More construction equals less absorption of water, which makes things worse,” Wysef said. “In the past, the fire department has had to come and rescue homeowners on the east side of Arapho. These streets will turn into rivers.”

According to Wyse, homes in the area have depreciated in value, and home owners have struggled selling their houses, because of the flood damage.

“Hopefully, after the project is completed, house values will rise,” he said.

If the city council includes funding for the project in the next fiscal year’s budget, which begins on Oct. 1, construction could begin in 2015. The cost of the project won’t be known until after the engineering study is complete and the city receives the go-ahead from the Corps of Engineers, Clayton said.

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