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Downtown flooding: Johnson City turns to Army Corps of Engineers for possible fix

June 5th, 2014 9:15 am by Gary B. Gray

Downtown flooding: Johnson City turns to Army Corps of Engineers for possible fix

Brush Creek flooding in downtown Johnson City in July 2013 (Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press/File)

City commissioners will consider an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tonight that would result in an evaluation of Brush and King creeks’ water flow and be used to produce additional remedies for downtown flooding.

The $100,000 expense for “hydraulic modeling” of the two creeks would set the city back $50,000, while the remaining $50,000 would be paid for at the federal level. The local portion would come from the city’s stormwater fund.

Two initial alternatives will be discussed: upstream detention ponds for Brush Creek and removal of obstructions downstream just beyond the point where King Creek joins Brush Creek.

“We’re trying to figure out how much storage we would need,” Public Works Director Phil Pindzola said about the first alternative. “If we could do this, we could help mitigate flooding downtown. The overall aim is to arrive at a point where we can accurately measure the impact of the detention ponds.”

He said the latter alternative basically is meant to identify obstructions causing a backwater effect, which also causes downtown flooding.

Commissioners also will consider a $130,790 bid from Armstrong Construction to build a ticket/souvenir structure at Cardinal Park, home of the Johnson City Cardinals. The money would come from unspent bond proceeds and funds available for capital projects.

The majority of a $225,000 streetscape project in front of the park has been completed. The ticket/souvenir building would be constructed on the east side of the stadium where a new plaza has been constructed. Designed by architect Thomas Weems, the structure would replace the traditional method of ticket-selling at the park, which basically has been a few volunteers sitting at a folding table.

One year ago, the cost of a new ticket office alone was estimated at $50,000.

Meanwhile, commissioners are expected to approve $25,000 to install a new logo at Science Hill High School’s Kermit Tipton Stadium’s 50-yard line on the Science Hill campus. The money will come from a fund where retained rebate checks from beverage maker Coca-Cola have been saved for the last four years.

The high school adopted the grimacing profile in 2006, the same year Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University obtained a trademark for a nearly identical logo. The two entities settled on a deal allowing the logo to stay on the newly built stadium’s field for up to five years at a cost of $1,000 per year.

Last year, Johnson City Schools hired a design firm to produce the current logo, a forward-facing “Topper.” The school system will own the rights to this image.

Commissioners also will hear budget presentations by the Washington County Economic Development Council, Convention & Visitors Bureau, Emergency Management Services and 911.

Also, a second reading to rezone the General Mill property will be heard and a public hearing will be conducted. Commissioners had gone through three readings, held a public hearing and eventually approved the rezoning to accommodate a 216-unit apartment complex.

The city, however, failed to provide adequate public notice of the original public hearing, so the process had to begin again. As was the case with the first go-round, Mayor Ralph Van Brocklin and Commissioners Jenny Brock and Jeff Banyas voted for the move; Vice Mayor Clayton Stout and Commissioner David Tomita voted against the rezoning.

This was the case last month at the do-over of a first reading, and the 3-2 tally is not expected to change.

Like Gary B. Gray on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Gary-B-Gray. Follow him on Twitter @ggrayjcpress.

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