RACHEL GRABER AKPOTU

Staff Writer

FORT BRANCH—Fort Branch Town Council will proceed with a storm water grant application after a public hearing Wednesday night.

Carol Hagedorn of Economic Development of Southwest Indiana presented an update on the budget and timeline for the grant, which can fund solutions for flooding and sewer problems in town.

“We basically wanted to introduce the project to the community... to address storm water issues and get feedback,” Hagedorn said.

Hagedorn said the project will focus on flooding at Boyles Ditch north of the park and the central drainage system along Railroad Street.

“The application will be going to the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, which receives its funding from the federal Housing and Urban Development program,” she said.

The funds filter through the state’s Community Development Block Grant Program.

Sources of local funding include $500,000 from the CDBG funds and $456,050 local match, for a total budget of $956,000.

Gibson County Commissioners have committed $100,000 of Tax Increment Finance funds. The balance of the local match will be secured though a bank loan for a total local contribution of $456,050.

Hannum Wagle Cline Project Engineer Eric Smith also gave details about the scope of the project.

“We looked at areas that could provide drainage benefits and could also proved a benefit of helping reduce clear water or storm water that’s getting into the sanitary system by targeting areas where

we know there are leaky sanitary sewers.,” Smith said.

He said the Boyles Ditch area and central drainage system are both areas that not only have drainage problems, but also have problems related to inflow and infiltration in the sanitary system.

The other key to developing the project is funding.

Sewer Superintendent Glenn Weiss agreed that the project is an absolute necessity.

“Due to the higher infiltration to the collection system we are in a high rate of flow,” he said

He said the continuing issues have had an impact on maintenance costs as well as the impact it has on the sewer plant itself.

“It will help to reduce the inflow and infiltration in our collection system in the town and also in problem areas that we’ve found.”

Former town council member Tom Wallace agreed with the council’s decision to move forward with the grant application and letter or intent.

“One of the problems we had was flooding on Railroad Street, we’ve even had a lawsuit in the past, and the problem still exists when wehave large rain events. It always has the potential of damaging people’s property,” said Wallace.

Hagedorn laid out a time line for the project if the grant is approved. If the award is granted, construction will begin March 2017.

“We only have 18 months from the time of grant award to make the whole thing happen.”

Another public hearing is scheduled May 18.

The next regular town council meeting will be held April 20 at 6 p.m. at Fort Branch Community Center.

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