Survey work to help identify flooding issues

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By Stephen Lega

Lebanon city officials are continuing to work with O’Brien and Gere Engineers to identify issues that may have contributed to flooding during last year’s heavy rainstorms.
At the Jan. 13 Lebanon City Council meeting, Building Inspector John Thompson said surveyors are marking locations with white check marks throughout the city, which will assist with aerial photography.
In a phone interview, City Administrator John O. Thomas said the photos will be used to make a more detailed map of the watershed that feeds into the Jordan Creek, which runs through downtown Lebanon.
“We’ve never had a storm water map, either, so doing the study is something that will benefit us for years to come,” Thomas said.
In a phone interview, Thomas said this is the first aerial map the city has done in 20 years. The aerial photography will take place when weather permits.
That work will help determine possible long-term solutions for flooding issues. In the short term, city officials met last month with representatives of Presray, a company that sells waterproof doors.
Presray offers a variety of options, including its FastLogs, which can be installed by a single person without any tools. Thomas said the various products ranged from $60,000 to $200,000, and could be delivered between two and six months, depending on which product is ordered.
To learn more about Presray various flood barriers, visit http://www.presray.com/flood-barriers-floodgates/.
Public works employees have monitored storm drainage during the most recent rain events, and no flooding issues have been reported, Thomas said.
(Councilwoman Kate Palagi served as the mayor pro tem for the Jan. 13 meeting. Mayor Gary Crenshaw and Councilman Jerry Abell were absent for that meeting.)

In other business:
- The council postponed appointing Cody Neat as the city’s official electrical inspector. Thompson said Neat is already doing electrical inspections for the city, but the state is now enforcing a provision requiring cities to designate an official inspector.
Thompson said Neat also agreed to handle electrical permitting for the city, however, those documents were not ready for the Jan. 13 meeting.
- Johnny Yocum has retired as the city’s public works director. Terry Bland has been appointed to replace Yocum.
- Thomas attended a meeting about the Heartland Parkway, which is proposed to connect the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway near Columbia and the Martha Layne Collins Bluegrass Parkway north of Willisburg.
Thomas reported that Department of Transportation officials are proposing to make the Heartland Parkway a two-plus-one roadway, which means two traffic lanes with a passing lane between them. By using this model, the state will not need to acquire additional right-of-way.
The first section of the project is proposed to go from near Columbia into Marion County, near the Hwy. 289 and Hwy. 55 intersection.
Thomas added that the first phase of the project would take about two years to complete if the state approves money for the project, which is estimated to cost $30 million or more.
- City Attorney Kandice Engle-Gray said she’s heard back from several of the family members living in Utah who may have a claim to 340 E. Walnut Street, which the city is seeking to condemn. She said a majority of them want to sign quit claim deeds, which would transfer the property to the city.
The county has filed a counterclaim to the city condemnation claim in Marion Circuit Court. Councilman Darin Spalding asked if that would slow down the process. Engle-Gray said it would not. She did say that family members have until the end of the month to respond to the city’s initial petition of condemnation.
- On another matter, Spalding said he would like to see a city hall added to the small buildings on display as part of Christmas at the Park.
Park Director Matthew Mattingly said he understands that work on a train is underway to be added to the 2014 display. He also said that they are trying to move away from the inflatable displays.
- Aquatics Director Charlsie Garrett reported that 40,902 visitors came to the Lebanon Aquatics Center in 2013.
- Police Chief Wally Brady said a woman from Indiana made an anonymous donation of $1,025 to purchase a ballistics vest for Speedo, the department’s new K-9.
Brady also said two officers provided security at the TG Kentucky Christmas party. In return, TG Kentucky donated $1,000 to the DARE program.
- The estimated cost to build a concession and storage building at Centre Square is $97,070. Marion County Youth Football asked the city to consider adding this building last year. Thompson said he estimated the costs on the high side, and some savings might be possible by having tech center students do some of the work on the project.
- Councilwoman Kate Palagi said she has received complaints about birds from residents on North Spalding Avenue. City Administrator Thomas said the city has been using noise cannons to scare birds away from the area.
- Councilman Jim Richardson said he’s also heard what sounds like gunshots early in the morning. Councilman Spalding said he heard similar sounds when he was outside at the hospital. Police Chief Brady said he would have his third shift officers pay attention to that part of town. He added that it is rabbit season, so that may be what Richardson was hearing.