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From football to storm water pond

By Staff | Feb 3, 2019

The storm water study for the old United South Central football field is a go, after the Wells City Council approved the study during their meeting last Monday, Jan. 28.

According to a conversion analysis, the city of Wells is “interested in investigating the opportunity to use the old high school football field as a storm water storage site that can potentially double as green space to help relieve the bottleneck associated with the undersized storm sewer outfall that passes the site and continues through Half Moon Park to the outlet in County Ditch No. 87, to the north of Truncated Highway 109.”

The analysis further states in 2008, Bolton & Menk created a city-wide storm sewer model of the existing storm sewer system as part of the city’s surface water management plan. This model was used to test alternative recommendations to improve the storm water service throughout the city. That same modeling can be accessed to test the impact of various retention alternatives in the old high school football field, and if desired, to investigate opportunities to improve the outfall conditions through Half Moon Park.

The retention/detention pond analysis study, itself, would come at a cost of $8,800 through Braun Intertec, which Bolton & Menk would pay. The boring and soil sampling will cost an additional $5,890, a cost the Wells City Council was agreeable to, approving the cost to move ahead with the borings to determine soils and possible debris left from tornadic activity many years ago.

USC still owns the football field property, but is working with the city in order to move forward with the land development, as the school hopes to sell it or be rid of it in the future. Unfortunately for the city, there are also concerns with regard to the cost of removing the remaining track, football posts, lighting, and fencing still on the property. However, if the field has viable storm water use, rehabilitating the property could create a promising storm water project for Wells, according to city administrator, CJ?Holl.

“In that case, the city could go after some partial grant funding to complete the project,” says Holl. “It’s a kill two birds with one stone scenario.”

There were concerns from Wells City Council members on the topic of making this potential pond aesthetically pleasing, and “not become a cattail pond” or create an issue with mosquitoes. City engineer Travis Winter reported the pond could be designed with riprap rocking as well as keeping the slope and depth of the pond fairly shallow.

Mosquitoes are commonly mitigated by larvae ‘pucks’ that are put in bodies of water to stave off the hatching of mosquitoes.

In other developmental topics, the Wells City Council approved of the official name for the former USC school development plat. The final plat of the property, which has also been approved, will be named the City Center Addition.

The City of Wells City Code required the property to be subdivided into lots and blocks and the Wells Housing Redevelopment Authority (HRA) submitted their final plat of the property, acted to review and approve it, and gave it the name. The city previously acted and approved the preliminary and final plats and officially approved the new name.

Wells is on the list of Minnesota cities in need of critical water infrastructure.

As a part of their consent agenda, a flyer from the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities mentioned that if the Minnesota Legislature does not pass a bonding bill in 2019, several cities in Minnesota, including Wells, could fall further behind with regards to environmental concerns. Sewer and water rates are likely to increase, aging and failing infrastructure that continues to deteriorate, and could create potential for drinking water safety risks and increase costs of construction projects.

The 2018 bonding bill included $59 million for PFA programs, however cities slated to receive that funding have been forced to delay their projects due to a pending lawsuit filed by nine environmental groups that challenges the funding mechanism used in the bill.

For Wells, a $6.3 million plant upgrade for chloride treatment has been put on hold.

The $128 million in bonding that Minnesota cities are seeking in 2019 is the amount needed to keep up with the growing demand and cover the funding that has been “indefinitely held up as a result of this lawsuit” states the flyer.

The next regular Wells City Council meeting is slated for Feb. 11, at 5 p.m. in the Wells Community Center.