City to take part in river study: It would include methods to mitigate possible future flood damageThe Public Works Committee approved participating in a feasibility study being conducted by the James River Joint Water Resource District Thursday. The study is being done with the cooperation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota Water Commission.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The Public Works Committee approved participating in a feasibility study being conducted by the James River Joint Water Resource District Thursday. The study is being done with the cooperation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota Water Commission.
City Engineer Reed Schwartzkopf said the purpose of the study is to define problems, acquire data and determine if there are any feasible methods of mitigating possible future flood damage.
Half of the funding for the study is being provided by the corps and 25 percent is from the North Dakota Water Commission. Local funding can be in the form of work done by city staff or by cash contributions.
The city approved covering half of the local cash costs up to a maximum of $25,000 with $10,000 released this year and the rest during 2013 if there is participation by other local governments in the James River basin.
“We are a city the river runs through,” said Mayor Katie Andersen said. “This is the logical thing to do.”
Schwartzkopf said it is possible that if such a study had been done after the 1997 flood the impact of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 floods may not have been as high.
The data can also be used in the application process for future flood mitigation projects.
“We really can’t go after federal flood protection funds without doing this,” Schwartzkopf said.
The study area includes the six counties in North Dakota that include the James River or its tributaries. A similar study has already been completed in South Dakota.
In other business, Jamestown residents who wish to add a sidewalk in front of their residence have another option. The Public Works Committee unanimously approved a change order to the sidewalk and gutter contract with Lindberg Brothers to offer reduced rates for additional new sidewalk construction. The project could be financed through a seven-year special assessment.
“We look at this as a way to jump-start a sidewalks-for-Jamestown program,” said Al Lindberg, owner of Lindberg Brothers. “We will offer a better price for the sidewalks.”
Schwartzkopf said the project is entirely voluntary at this point.
“I’d like to get to the point where there is a sidewalk on one side or the other of every street in Jamestown,” he said. “But we’re not ready to require that.”
Lindberg said he hoped offering a lower price would increase the volume of sidewalk work the company does in Jamestown this summer. Schwartzkopf estimated the costs were reduced about 30 percent from the standard sidewalk repair price.
Schwartzkopf estimated the cost of a 5-foot-wide sidewalk for a 50-foot lot could be about $1,000 which the city would add to the property tax as special assessments over seven years.
Andersen said the voluntary approach made sense.
“I like a positive approach rather than mandating,” she said.
The committee also learned from Jim Reuther, Jamestown fire chief, that advertisements for bids for a remote operated vehicle begin this week.
The ROV is a remotely operated underwater vehicle that can be used in search and rescue operation in open water or under the ice.
Funding for the ROV included about $27,000 raised by family and friends of Darrin Ackerman. Ackerman fell through the ice and drowned while ice fishing in December. An ROV from Duluth, Minn., recovered his body under the ice eight days after the incident.
“A big thanks to Leanne Buckley and the Darrin Ackerman family,” Reuther said. “This wouldn’t have happened without them.”
Reuther estimates the device will be operational by August.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org