Year End Summary and a Look Ahead
Earlier this year the City and the Drain Commissioners Office formed the Allens Creek Advisory Committee (AC2) and hired the engineering firm of Orchard, Hiltz & McCliment (OHM) to look at ways to reduce pollution and flooding in the basin. We met with the community several times, reviewing potential areas of opportunities. Some activities have been identified and progress is being made: rain gardens and rain barrels. However, we have not yet settled on any large scale projects.
There are several opportunities that top the priority list based on their location, size, soil types and height above groundwater. Many of these sites have been discussed in a public forum (West Park, 415 W. Washington, 720 N. Main, 1st and William, Vets Park), others have not (University of Michigan and Ann Arbor Public School properties). Other locations have been suggested.
Between May and October, AC2 representatives held a dialogue with the University and Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) about potential regional stormwater treatment in the Allens Creekshed. Although there is future potential, there currently are no project areas on U. of M. property being pursued by the Advisory Committee.
An agreement was reached with AAPS to pursue funding for one site: Pioneer High School. AAPS has committed to partnering with the City and County to seek grant funding for this site. Although no binding commitments have been made, we are moving forward to identify what level of storage, infiltration, and treatment is possible, and how to fund such a project.
AC2 representatives also met with representatives from the Maple Village Shopping Center where K-Mart is located. These discussions were very positive and stormwater improvements will certainly be a key element of site redevelopment when it occurs.
In December, the Drain Commissioner met again with the Board of the Allens Creek Greenway Conservancy to exchange ideas and to continue to collaborate on mutual objectives.
The full Advisory Committee met to discuss Pioneer High, Maple Village and several upcoming road projects Stadium between Pauline and White, and Miller Road between Newport and Heather Crescent. Although there are some challenges associated with the very high groundwater at West Park, the City is looking to improve the park and that too was discussed. The Advisory Committee decided that more details are needed for any potential project before presenting again to the public.
Earlier in 2007 the Drain Commissioner received a grant for this Allens Creek Initiative. The $99,000 award came with an understanding that, if that money was spent for planning purposes, a project would be identified, construction plans would be developed, and construction would occur. Only projects located on public property will be considered for this particular program. However, private properties are eligible if a public easement is obtained.
Although there is flexibility in the program to spend as much as 36 months developing plans, the next available opportunity to submit them is July of 2008. Construction could then follow in 2009. With this in mind, OHM has been directed to develop alternatives analyses for projects discussed to date, with more refined analysis for some of the most promising sites. This will include conceptual plans, costs, water quality and flood control. At that point, we will bring more information back to the community. We expect to be ready for another public forum by mid to late-February. A second meeting is planned to allow time to incorporate public input and revise the analysis.
If you have any comments, please email. Thanks again for your continued interest! Happy Holidays!