published Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Cleveland, Army Corps working on flood woes

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The City Council took another step Monday toward solving Cleveland’s flooding problems.

The council heard a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presentation confirming conclusions from several years ago that Cleveland’s flooding areas are extensive and have grown.

The council already had $300,000 budgeted for a Corps of Engineers’ second phase study to suggest solutions to the flooding. The money will cover the city’s half of a $600,000 study of the South Mouse Creek area with the corps paying the other half.

On Monday, the council agreed to add $225,000 for the city’s half of the cost to include a Candies Creek study. The corps will match that, as well.

“South Mouse and Candies are urgent problems practically every time it rains,” said Councilman Bill Estes.

Funding details will be included in September when the council is asked to sign a letter of intent with the corps, making a commitment to the study.

The first phase study, just completed, was paid fully by the corps.

The cost of any construction projects that come as a result of the second round of studies will be shared, too — 65 percent by the corps and 35 percent locally.

The second phase study could take up to two years, according to corps representatives, and will cover 80 miles of streams.

“I think this is extremely important,” said Councilman David May.

The list of solutions could include bridge work, creating retention ponds and overflow routes. Council members were told they could choose among the alternatives when they are presented.

The city has teamed up with the Corps of Engineers before to solve more localized flooding. In 2003, state, local and federal agencies joined to create detention ponds on the Woolen Mill Branch area near the old Whirlpool site. Those ponds have been successful at alleviating floods, according to city officials.

In the first phase study, the corps included areas outside the city limits but in the city’s urban growth area plus along Little Chattata Creek. The estimated costs for those fixes is $200,000 for Little Chattata and $1.2 million for the urban growth areas. Those projects are on hold for now.

Mayor Tom Rowland suggested discussing a split with Bradley County for the local funding on those projects.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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