FOLEY - During the Monday, Dec. 6 meeting, the Foley City Council approved two major drainage improvement projects to move forward. The two projects will cost a combined total of approximately …
FOLEY - During the Monday, Dec. 6 meeting, the Foley City Council approved two major drainage improvement projects to move forward. The two projects will cost a combined total of approximately $91,588. Both were projects listed to be funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) monies. Both projects were awarded to Greenco.
The first concerned the area from South Chestnut Street to Pilgrim Street and is the largest of the two projects, coming in at $76,767.
According to Darrell Russell, public works director, the project has been a long time in the making in the Beulah Heights community.
“I’d like to start at Pilgrim, at that permanent drainage easement north of Michigan Street, head westward, and take northward on the unmaintained Chestnut easement and move northward toward Jackson,” said Russell. “That way we’ll alleviate water off of Chestnut and move it into the correct path.”
He said most of the repairs being done are Hurricane Sally damage, with city crews maintaining the area in the past until storm damage prevented crews from entering.
“This is one of the first ARPA projects that we’re trying to do,” said Mayor Ralph Hellmich. “It’s been kind of a challenge, I wish we could have started during the dry season, but we had to construct a bid and then getting bidders and everything. This will get us back to where the waters can’t spread out or anything and possibly affect cemeteries and other places.”
The second approved drainage project was for the area south of Michigan Avenue and Cedar Street, where a privately owned field needs maintenance. The project will remove buildup from the field, and will cost $14,821.
“This is a long, long-time problem, too,” said Russell. “We will work to get a permanent easement through there at some point, engineering is on task to present to those landowners and we want to get some permanent easements.”
Russell said about half of the water that flows on Third, Fourth, and Fifth Avenue drains westward, goes under Cedar and heads through the field to the main drainage. He said his crews will excavate a portion of the peanut field that has silted in through the years. A temporary easement will be created in order for the work to be performed.
“It’s one of those cases where public waters have to go across private right of ways, and those are challenges,” said Hellmich. “For example, the fields that go from Michigan all the way to Azalea, all of west Foley drains through that field. Well, we don’t own that ditch, and we need to get a permanent maintenance easement through there because it affects all of west Foley if we don’t keep that ditch open. All the way up to Highway 98 could potentially be backed up. So we’re developing a master list for all of Foley over these types of situations, and this is one of the first.”
Hellmich said other drainage projects would be brought before the council in the future.