Abilene’s flooding issues will be presented to the Abilene City Commission at upcoming meetings, Interim City Manager Jane Foltz said at a study session Monday.

“There are other areas that we have never addressed including downtown and residential,” Foltz said after a presentation on northeast flooding on Faith Avenue.

Dennis Kissinger, the city’s consultant, updated the commission on the northeast flooding and the proposed retention pond to resolve the issue.

Kissinger said he would be providing three alternatives at the Dec. 9 meeting.

He said the commission and staff had been dealing with “a lot of fuzziness” in the past on the Faith Avenue flooding.

“One thing that is just horrible between a governing body and its staff is fuzzy communications,” he said. “I’m trying to package this together very much in a similar format as the hotel where for you all, the ones that have to make this decision, we can provide you the information and the options available.”

He said it wasn’t development in the area of the drainage basin that caused the flooding but rather the contour of the land.

“Water is going to flow that way whether development occurred or not. It’s part of a drainage basin,” he said.

Drainage fund

Kissinger said there is about $600,000 in the city’s storm drainage fund which generates about $60,000 per year.

“That gives you somewhat of a war chest to go forward with,” he said.

He said the last time a significant project was done by the city out of the storm drainage fund he was Abilene’s interim city manager.

Kissinger served eight months between city managers Allen Dinkel and David Dillner in 2010.

Kissinger said the uses for the fund is very broad based.

“What you think the priorities are and what is most important, it is available,” he told commissioners. “The bad part about not doing anything for 10 years is that you did not do anything.”

Over those years the Abilene Public Works has been handling projects, he said.

“This city has faced a lot of challenges the last 10 years with Highlands and Alco leaving,” he said. “There was an awful lot put on the back burner.”

He said the city now needs to look at solving drainage issues.

“There are other projects out there that are good projects that could be done in the coming 10 years,” he said.

Land donation

One option for the city is to accept a donation of 3.25 acres of land east of property at 1709 N. Buckeye, the former Priem’s Pride Hotel, from owner Dan Hopkins of Rockwell, Texas, and a small section of land from Holm Real Estate for a retention pond which the city would then own and maintain.

Studies done by Kaw Valley Engineering in 2009 and another by Olsson Associates in 2016 calling for replacing the small current storm retention pond which the city owns on Eagle Drive with a larger one at an estimated cost of $330,000 is the best answer.

It should solve flooding issues as it is designed for a 100-year flood.

Kissinger suggested a development district for special assessment was not a good option.

“What becomes our problem and why?” asked Commissioner Dee Marshall.

He said most of the development done in the area was completed before the city had standards for drainage detention.

“They did what they were supposed to do. They met city standards which didn’t include a pond or anything like that,” he said. “It is almost impossible to get agreements to get assessments going back. Cities rarely try to assess existing property owners, not in the same manner in doing new property.”

He said that Love’s Travel Store made a retention pond to avoid flooding west of Abilene.

“Nothing is simple. That is why nothing has been done for 12 years,” Kissinger said.

Commissioner Angie Casteel said building the pond could lead to future economic development in that area.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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