M'ville to update stormwater plan for first time in decades

2012-09-21T21:00:00Z M'ville to update stormwater plan for first time in decadesChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com
September 21, 2012 9:00 pm  • 

MERRILLVILLE | The last time Merrillville updated its stormwater master plan, Ronald Reagan was president.

Matt Lake, executive director of the Merrillville Stormwater Utility, said he is working with Christopher B. Burke Engineering to change that.

Pages from the existing master plan, which was last updated in 1987, have become yellow, Lake said. The document also includes hand-drawn maps.

Lake said "it was a good plan at the time," but it's necessary to develop a new master plan Merrillville can use as a guide for future stormwater projects.

He anticipates it will take about a year to complete the new plan, which will be based on drainage studies throughout the town.

The Stormwater Utility will identify trouble areas and the best ways to maximize funding to address issues.

Lake wants to focus on urbanized areas of Merrillville, he said.

In particular, there are some residential subdivisions that were developed before the town adopted stormwater ordinances.

Drainage studies also look to identify areas in which roads are impacted by flooding.

It's important to address those issues so emergency vehicles don't have problems traveling on roads during heavy rainfall.

The Stormwater Utility is in the process of mapping existing infrastructure in the town, which will be helpful during the master plan project, Lake said.

He also will seek involvement from Merrillville residents while developing the document.

Bud Crist, president of the Stormwater Management Board, said there are multiple factors that could have prevented Merrillville from updating the master plan earlier.

He said funding could have been one of the issues. Crist also said the town didn't have a Stormwater Management Board until 2004.

Lake said there are several area communities without a stormwater master plan. When Merrillville completes its update, he thinks community leaders could use the document as an example to develop their own master plans.

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