Paving roads while avoiding drainage issues has plagued Elk Point for over a century.

Two such projects dominated the discussion at the regular meeting of the Elk Point City Council Monday, Oct. 4.

The first problem is drainage along Washington Street after it was paved this summer. The one-block section between Wood and Elm streets has a pool of water along one side following every rainfall. Rita Kyte and Rose Adams appeared before the council and brought photos that show the accumulation. Both were also upset by the gravel left behind on their lawns, instead of the promised topsoil. Kyte showed photos of the end of her ramp that is cracked and damage to her driveway.

Washington and Wood streets

The corner of Washington and Wood streets has a dip where rain accumulates and had gravel replaced instead of dirt after Washington Street was paved this summer.

The council was scheduled to make the final payment to Slowey Construction for the work, as well as approve the substantial completion and notice of acceptance for the project. Both had been tabled last month after complaints from property owners along Douglas Street.

Because the drainage issues were not caused by Slowey’s work, the council voted to pay only $100,000 of the $119,998.22 pay request. They will not approve the substantial completion and notice of acceptance until after Slowey repairs the lawn, ramp and driveway.

The second drainage issue is showing up at Jack Nicklaus Drive. In July, the city signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Elk Point Investments, LLP (EPI), Chris Dunham’s company. The MOU states EPI will complete Jack Nicklaus by the end of the year, then turn over ownership of the street and accompanying detention ponds to the city. However, the plans for the street are based on 2007 hydrologic studies that some council members feel may be outdated after the construction of Eagle Estates just north of the street. The plans call for a 44-foot drainage ditch along the two properties, owned by Lee Schaeffer and council member Steve Nelson, at the current end of the street. The ditch will eat up a substantial portion of both yards.

The city had originally proposed extending the pipes running under the street, at city expense, rather than a ditch, but that would have moved the completion date to 2022. The plans also call for two 36” pipes to handle drainage under the street, which Nelson and City Engineer Kim McLaury feel are excessive based on the amount of water moving through the area.

The city has several options. The first is to hire an independent engineer to convince EPI that the pipes and ditch are excessive. (McLaury is unable to do that work as he has been hired by EPI to oversee the project). The city could default on the MOU, which City Attorney Craig Thompson strongly advised against. The city could fill in the ditch once it owns the street, but Nelson feels that is such a waste of time and expense. A separate problem with that plan is that EPI still owns the lots on the other side of the ditch and would have to agree to the work.

For now, the council decided to approach Dunham about changing the scope of the drainage plans, which would save EPI some construction costs, and contact the original engineer to obtain the 2007 hydrologic studies. Schaeffer has been in contact with Dunham and will try to get him to look at the drastic changes that will be made to Schaeffer’s property if the ditch is completed.

All of this needs to be done quickly, as McLaury estimates excavation could begin within the next week. A special meeting may be needed, but no date was set Monday night.

See full story in this week’s Leader-Courier.