Region 8 city looks to study all drainage systems, determine direction

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Mayor Harold Perrin told Region 8 News Tuesday he's meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers Thursday to discuss a study of the city's overall drainage system. The city has more than 300 miles of ditches that Perrin would like to study. He said his goal is to identify problem spots and address them as funding allows.

"We've got more needs than we do resources, so we have to be very cautious. At the same time we're also cleaning out ditches and things of that nature on the 300 miles of open ditches that we've got," said Perrin. "It will show you not only what they feel like needs to be done, but it will have an estimated cost. Currently, I would say with 300 miles of ditches. You're looking at the $100-million or more if we had to do all of these things at one time."

The city formed the Stormwater Management Board in 2007 and implemented new guidelines for developers.

"We have requirements that a developer cannot put off water any faster than what it's draining off now," said Gene Vance, Stormwater Management Board Chairman. "If the developer takes a green lot and develops that, then he has to retain enough water on that for a sufficient length of time that would act as if that property was not developed."

Perrin said it could cost taxpayers as much as $100-million to alleviate all flooding problems in the city at the same time, a task not feasible.

"That pond is designed and sized in order to hold all of the water that comes down in that particular rainfall event, then it is slowly let off and that is done by the size of the outlet structure," said Vance. "New development is being required to meet the current standards, which is not compounding the problem we have now."

"We've also put things on builders that when they build homes, they got to put up the silk fence and things of that nature to control the runoff water," said Perrin.

Perrin said one of the worst areas for flooding problems is near Nettleton Avenue.

"This is one of the hot spots that we identified several years back," said Perrin.

"I would doubt seriously if we would ever expect to see the city have enough money to do everything that it would like to do and everything that the citizens would like for it to do," said Vance. "That money is broken down to the different departments. The police department has to be careful how they spend the money they have and where they set their priorities as well as the money that comes to the street department and so on and so forth."

IBERIABANK and Jim Mead donated more than half an acre of land next to the bank, directly behind Fazzoli's on Highland. The land will be used to construct a detention pond to help residents in the Ivey Green subdivision and down Wilkins to the old Indian Mall.

"We've already got it in semi design on this detention pond and then we will start construction once the design is done and this is going to take care of a pretty good," said Perrin. "It's going to take some time to get the design on this and then the cost of the project on this will be somewhere around $500,000. This was not a budgeted item for 2010, so we're going to take a look at it in June or July. We'll see how our other capital improvements are going."

IBERIA donated .63 acres of land valued at $198,000. Mead donated a 30-foot strip of land that runs the width of his property.

"Most of the time in the spring, we get flooded about two to three times a year and it comes all the way into the back yard and into the house to some extent," said Mead. "It comes right through my back yard and it comes all throughout the neighborhood and it goes all the way down to the old mall and they're sometimes flooded knee deep there."

"The mayor contacted us some time ago about helping them with some drainage issues and resolve some drainage issues in the surrounding community and this property was one of the ones that they selected that could help resolve some drainage issues," said Phillip Jett, Executive Vice President of IBERIABANK in Jonesboro. "We've donated just over a half acre of land basically to partner with the community and the city to solve the drainage issues. We were happy to do it. It was reserved for expansion, but the need to solve the drainage issue is more important and pressing at the time so we were glad to do it."

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