Final stages of village drain project moves forward

By David Fleet
Goodrich-Field work is complete on a village drain project set to start this summer.
That’s the word from Jim Gerth, director of surface water management for the Genesee County Drain Office on a renovation of a century old village drain system. An estimated 80 village residents could be impacted by the project.
“The field work is completed, the easements have been acquired, plans are complete with the utility companies impacted,” said Gerth. “An application for a state permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has been made. Sometime in early spring bids will be sent out so a final cost can be determined.”
The planned work is on the Wheelock & Watkins Drain—an agricultural drain built in 1897 and which encompasses a large section of the village. The old drain under the jurisdiction of Genesee County has been one possible cause of flooding of several residents’ homes over the past few years. About seven years ago, the flooding intensified, prompting village officials to engage the county drain officials to investigate the issues. As a result, petitions were signed and in a special meeting on April 9, 2013 at the village offices, a board of determination voted 3-0 to move forward with an upgrade to the Wheelock & Watkins Drain. By law, the drain commission must move forward with the project in a timely manner.
“The county and state are only charged for the project if there are county roads or state highways within the district,” said Gerth. “They are all villages roads and residents in the drain area. Part of the drain will go though the (Commons) park on village property or the street right of way. It’s a cost and time savings to go though the park where village streets are not torn up. There are a lot of pieces that will affect the budget of this project. When the project is completed a more reliable, consistent and efficient drainage system will be in the village.”
Jakki Sidge, village manager said the cost of the project will be split between the village and residents impacted by the drain.
“There will be a special assessment once the cost is determined,” said Sidge. “Just who pays will be based on benefit from the drain not frontage. We anticipate the work will not interfere with Good Times in Goodrich in August.”
Sidge added that the cost will be spread over 10 years and financing options are available.

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