Little Cal Commission OK's two watershed projects, tables third

2014-01-12T00:00:00Z Little Cal Commission OK's two watershed projects, tables thirdLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
January 12, 2014 12:00 am  • 

MUNSTER | The Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission recently approved funding for two of the initial three projects submitted by municipalities and government entities to improve the Little Calumet River watershed.

The commission took the third project under advisement until additional information can be gathered.

Funding of watershed improvement construction projects by the LCRBDC is part of the perpetual funding legislation approved by the Indiana General Assembly in 2012 to operate and maintain the $275 million flood protection system.

Applications are available online at www.littlecalumetriverbasin.org/ and are due at the first of each month. The LCRBDC funds 80 percent of the approved projects with local sponsors providing the remaining 20 percent.

Suggested by the Lake County Surveyor’s office, the first project is a study of the Upper Beaver detention system.

This naturally low-lying area located between Schererville and St. John could become a 1,400-acre upland water storage system in a high water event, LCRBDC Executive Director Dan Repay told the commissioners.

Based on the application submitted by the two towns, the development of this area would also help stop water from running downhill into the waterways that cause flooding in the watershed area, Repay said. The acreage is located on 101st Avenue on the north almost to 109th Avenue on the south.

Schererville and St. John officials requested $40,000 to have DLZ Engineering conduct the feasibility study testing the hypothesis of upland water storage.

LCRBDC members debated whether this project met the criteria for construction projects and if funding a study rather than a shovel-ready construction project would set a precedent.

The legislation setting up the perpetual funding called for an advisory board to review the applications for funding. However, LCRBDC Chairman Bill Baker said that no one has come forward to be part of that board.

Four of the five commissioners present voted to approve funding $32,000, or 80 percent of requested amount for the study. Anthony Broadnax voted no.

The second approved project submitted by the town of Winfield will reconstruct a storm sewer on Grand Boulevard at 109th Street.

“Water flows over Grand and causes issues with traffic,” Repay said, referring to the application which asked for $32,000.

The LCRBDC voted unanimously to reimburse the Winfield Water District 80 percent of the project cost up to $25,600.

Winfield and the town of Merrillville submitted the third project, which the commission tabled.

This application asked for $46,100 to clear 3,100 feet of bank along Hidden Creek Ditch that flows into both communities. The area to be cleared is located in a Winfield subdivision.

Commissioners asked that a representative from Winfield explain the project at a future LCRBDC meeting.

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