Money earmarked for drainage project will be put to good use

Published 7:13 pm Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A portion of the $1 million Mayor George Flaggs Jr. dedicated to the Kings community a year ago is going to be put to good use.

At his inauguration July 1, 2017, Flaggs said he would earmark $1 million in capital improvements bond money for improvements in Kings. June 25, he announced $150,002 of that money will used to help pay for an estimated $645,010 project to improve drainage in Kings. Given the problems that area along North Washington Street has had in the past with flooding and landslides, there are few better uses for the money.

The $150,002 will provide the city’s match for a National Resources Conservation Service grant that will cover the remaining $495,008 of the project’s cost.

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Kings and North Washington Street are plagued with severe mud and flooding problems whenever the area is inundated with heavy rains. In 2017, silt included in the runoff from the ridges on the east side of North Washington Street clogged culverts under the road forcing water to backup in drainage ditches, covering North Washington and streets in Kings with a mix of high water and mud.

The culverts were cleared, but filled again during the next rain.

North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said the NRCS project will start on the north side of Sherman Avenue Park at Sherman and Union avenues, go around the back of Union and include a hillside that has serious erosion problems.

“We are going to have to remove some very large trees in that area,” Mayfield said, adding the city had to acquire easements on tracts of private property for the project.

Plans for the project call for a new drainage channel that will be lined with riprap, a loose stone used to line the banks of the drainage areas to prevent erosion.

“This project is going to make a big difference in Kings,” Mayfield said.

Given the situation in Kings, the decision by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to seek the NRCS grant and the decision to use some of the $1 million dedicated to Kings is a prudent move.

It also represents an aggressive move by the board to address a chronic problem in an area of the city that has been underserved for so long. Hopefully the remainder the $1 million will be spent as wisely.