Questions addressed regarding stormwater drainage improvements

By Martin Couch

Bryant resident Gerald Carr spoke to the City Council on Thursday to express his appreciation and concern in regards to improving stormwater removal in Sunset Meadows.

“I appreciate what they’ve already done, but my concern is what is their schedule for completing this project,” Carr stated to the City Council. “It’s been seven years since we had, what I call, the 100-year flood and we have struggled since then. The work they’ve done so far is good, but it needs to be finished.[more]

“It kind of looks like, for lack of a better word, an earthquake or war zone there,” he continued. “Some of us feel like it is affecting the value of our property, with concrete barricades and traffic cones. What’s going on? We’re just concerned about what the next steps are going to be and when that is going to happen.”

Bryant city engineer Richard Penn noted that the Arkansas Highway Department will be addressing the concern of the box culvert that is at the entrance to Sunset Meadows off of Highway 5 and Forest Cove. The Highway department is expected to begin construction on a new entrance within its next fiscal year, which begins in October.

“I was pleased to hear what Richard had to say,” Carr said. “That’s a little more positive than what we had heard about the Highway 5 bridge and, when we were here three months ago, we heard talks of a grant that had been tentatively approved. What is the status of that and when can we expect that grant?”

Mayor Larry Mitchell addressed Carr’s concern about the proposed grant for the project.

“We did get a letter this week and I’m expecting to hear soon that it has been granted,” Mitchell said. “It will replace the drainage of the low-water bridge into the Forest Cove community. It needs to be replaced and that will be a big improvement from getting water away from there.”

Another concern of Carr’s was the shrubbery and small tree growth in the drainage ditches and containment ponds in his area.

“The City Council approved taking over responsibility for keeping the drainage ditches and containment ponds free of weeds, but you can’t see past 25 or 30 feet,” Carr said. “I’m pulling weeds out of my yard every week from seeds blown in there from that growth and there are snakes there. There hasn’t been a whole lot done.”

Penn addressed this concern.

“The department did go back in there and correct some of that, but more work will be done whenever we get that grant for Forest Drive,” he said. “Further work will be done when the bridge is replaced. For now, it’s stable. The street repairs there have also been done to stabilize the road until the drainage project can be completed. Hopefully, that won’t be too long.

“The status report for the Meadow Lake area that is referred to as Cox Canal that was dug in July of 2009, the street department has been out there every day excavating and has been working on the part upstream,” he added. “The rain has slowed us down. “

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