Garnavillo storm water project nears completion

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Garnavillo City officials awarded a storm water drainage improvement project contract to Ray’s Excavating, LLC of Edgewood. The estimated cost for the completed project is $525,587. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

Sustaining community infrastructure is a vital component for creating and maintaining strong rural communities. Upkeep on roads, sidewalks, and aging sewer systems can be a drain on tight city budgets, but are a necessity. 

Project outlook

In 2017 Garnavillo city officials, administration and city workers started planning a storm water drainage improvement project. "The City applied for two grants  to help offset the cost of the project. They received $80,000 from an IDALS (Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship) grant and $210,592 from CDBG (Community Development Block Grant)," said Melissa Atkinson, Garnavillo City Administrator/Clerk. "Once the grants were received and council members decided to proceed with the project, easements were obtained and the project went out to bid." 

The long-awaited project is now well underway, and scheduled to be completed this fall. The extent of the work will include drainage way reshaping; installation of storm sewer and culverts; two rain gardens; removal and replacement of sidewalks and installation of permeable paver placement along Main Street. 

Increased need

Above-normal precipitation created a need. "Storm water is a huge project for all communities; with changes in the environment we have experienced heavier rain events," said Atkinson. "The increase in precipitation has caused the old system to become overwhelmed, which then caused erosion around existing structures and in residents' yards. It also produced wet areas that never dry out which became a breeding ground for mosquitoes."

City officials awarded the contract to Ray’s Excavating, LLC of Edgewood. The estimated cost for the completed project is $525,587. "The projected costs include engineering, grant administration, easements and contractor fees, contract changes and miscellaneous costs," explained Atkinson. 

Currently the project is running smoothly. Atkinson noted, "The contractor requested a late start date due to other projects. Other than the week of rain, things have been running smoothly. The engineer is keeping an eye on the project and discusses any concerns regarding the project with council members."

Rain gardens

The addition of two rain gardens will complement the project. Carol DeSotel, longtime resident, commented, "For me the most fascinating part about the project are the two rain beds by the log cabin in the park and in Prairie Winds.  There have been six native plant species  ­— Prairie Smoke (132), Little Bluestem (192), Smooth Aster (88), Golden Alexander (224), Orange Coneflower (233), Butterfly Milkweed (72) placed in those gardens – a total of 456 in Prairie Winds and 525 in the park." "The rain gardens have been part of the project from the beginning. They are part of the requirements of the IDALS grant, which focuses on cleaning storm water," Atkinson noted. "The council reviewed and approved the plantings at the May 8, 2019, council meeting which as always was open to the public."

Garnavillo residents will experience drier yards; improved storm water drainage and better-looking storm water runoff areas once the project is completed. 

For additional information contact the Garnavillo City office at 563-964-2331.

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