Hartselle seeks more help with floodingPublished 1:24pm Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The City of Hartselle is seeking federal help to further reduce flooding issues facing the downtown business district.
As the city is planning to construct a flood retention pond behind the Hartselle City Schools central office, officials will be asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency for $300,000 to help build another retention pond on the west side of the railroad tracks.
Department of Development Director Jeff Johnson said a drainage ditch, which has not been mapped by FEMA, is bringing rainwater runoff into the downtown streams. He said it is adding to the flooding problems in downtown.
Mayor Don Hall said city officials introduced the idea during its trip to Washington visit in February.
“They told us that they would write a letter to support us in our efforts,” Hall said. “What we’re hoping is to begin this project right after we finish the one we have already started.”
Johnson said the studies performed during the engineering and design of the first phase should help them with the second phase.
“We never had any studies performed on the drainage ditch in question,” Johnson said. “Now we have information about this drainage ditch to possibly get this area classified as a flood area.”
Johnson said he is hoping to obtain funding to begin the design phase of the project and eventually funding for the construction of the retention pond.
“Right now, we don’t know where we would put the pond,” Johnson said. “That’s what we will determine in the design phase of the project. Then, we will need help acquiring the land needed for the new pond and then eventually construction.”
The current project will cost about $325,000. Hall said they have been petitioning Congress each year since 2003 for flood mitigation funding.
However, it was only in 2010 that the city was notified that it would receive $245,000 in funding, with the city matching the rest of the project total.
Johnson said the city has until September 2015 to finish the project, but he hopes that construction will begin by this fall.