Lake interconnection will also provide recreational opportunities.
BY WAYNE GRANT | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Residents who were here in the spring of 2009 most likely remember the storm that poured 27 inches of rain onto the city. Flooding was a problem in several locations. There were 81 homes with damage either to living areas, garages or screened porches, according to city records.
A flood-control project that grew out of that disaster was recently recognized by a national publication, Storm Water Solutions magazine, which covers the national storm water and erosion control industry. The magazine named the Hand Avenue Collector Road Improvement project as one of its top ten projects of the year in its year-end issue.
The selection criteria were based on “addressing aging infrastructure needs and implementation of cost-effective design technologies and management practices.”
After the 2009 storm, a study authorized by the City Commission determined that the lakes in Central Park should be connected to allow for better storm water management. It was decided the work would be done in conjunction with the improvements to Hand Avenue between Nova Road and U.S. 1. The improvements to Hand Avenue are now in the final stages, and the lake interconnection project will be completed in the coming months.
With the lakes connected, the water level can be controlled with a pumping station, according to city engineer John Noble. When a rain storm threatens, the water can be pumped down Thompson Creek to the Halifax River.
Money from FEMA will provide 75% of the funds for the project because of the flood control benefits.
The project will also result in recreational opportunities. Kayakers and canoeists will be able to travel between the lakes through the connecting culverts.
The city has applied for an ECHO grant for an Environmental Learning Center that would be built at one of the lakes, according to city spokeswoman Loretta Moisio. The application is expected to be reviewed by the ECHO board this year.
The magazine article the Hand Avenue project for maintaining existing drainage patterns and redesigning connections from adjacent neighborhoods “to allow for secondary discharge points during storm events to control neighborhood flooding.” The magazine also pointed out design features which allow the storm water to be treated before being discharged into other water bodies.
The $3.9 million project was designed by Zev Cohen and Associates Inc. and the contractors were Hazen Construction, Halifax Paving Inc. and Better Barricades Inc.