Archived Story

Flood fix in the works at park

Published 8:45am Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Council discusses solution for retention ponds

With construction on the new playground recently wrapped up, the fields of Russom Park offer more activities than ever to entertain local children who are bored on a warm weekend afternoon.

While none of those recreations include swimming, a few members of the Dowagiac City Council have expressed concern in recent weeks that several foot high water levels inside the park’s retention ponds may provide kids with an invitation to take a dip.

During their meeting Monday, City Manager provided an update on the city’s efforts to curtail any potential dangers surrounding the pools. In previous meetings, councilmembers suggested constructing fencing around it to deter people from jumping inside the pit; this week, Anderson reported that such structures would cost the city $12,000 to install.

“What we’ve also done though is had the engineering firm take a look at what was originally done there and look at what other options would be available for us,” Anderson said.

The city manager said that ponds were originally designed to fill up and drain within 24 hour. The city hired engineers with Whitman and Associates to investigate why this hasn’t been occurring, he said.

“They have a couple ideas,” he said. “We’re going back to the original designer and the original contractor to see if we can something short of putting a fence in.”

Solving the drainage problem wouldn’t just spare the city from marring landscape with fencing; it would also help save potential damage to the park’s walking paths. During recent heavy storms, the water level in the ponds rose beyond the maximum capacity, spilling over onto the park grounds, Anderson said.

“We have the safety issue and the pavement issue we’re trying to deal with,” he said. “We’re plugging away on it. There’s quite a bit of work going on in the background. We certainly want to have, before baseball season rolls around next spring and there’s heavier numbers out there, a permanent solution in place.”

One of the councilmembers who originally raised concerns over the pond was Charles Burling, who agreed with Anderson’s proposed solution.

“It would seem like the fence would offer another piece of liability, as the kids could climb on it,” he said. “If we could stay away from the fence, that would be great.”

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