The city of Kokomo will remove 11,000 yards of dirt from the Wildcat Creek stream banks as part of a continued effort to prevent flooding in the downtown area.
The project aims to increase the flow capacity of the creek, which also will create increased flood storage along traditionally flood-prone areas near Park Avenue.
Plans for the flood mitigation project were approved during Wednesday’s Board of Public Works and Safety meeting. Bids for the project will be received on July 23.
City Engineer Carey Stranahan said the project will not involve dredging the creek to increase capacity, but rather widening the top of the bank to give flood waters a place to go.
“It’s going to be a big excavator and dump trucks, basically digging and pulling the banks on the south side of the creek, which widens the top of the bank,” he said. “When the water gets up into that trough, the flow will be lower.”
The project calls for 9,000 yards of dirt to be removed from the area near Washington Street and Park Avenue, where the city already has done some utility relocation. Another 2,000 yards of dirt will be removed near the Foxes Trail and Wildcat Walk of Excellence on the south side of the creek.
Stranahan noted that those areas were selected for a couple of reasons.
“There are minimal trees and the creek is fairly tight in those locations,” he said. “With these locations being close to the downtown area, [this project] will have the greatest impact on reducing downtown flooding."
The area is located near the future site of a downtown baseball stadium that is expected to begin construction this summer. Money for the flood mitigation effort is included in funding for Kokomo Municipal Stadium. The city plans to spend $2.5 million on flood mitigation and $9 million on the baseball stadium. The city bonded for $10.5 million of the total cost.
The stadium will be located north of Vaile Avenue, between Union Street and Apperson Way, east of where the bank widening will take place.
Once bids are received, Stranahan expects a contractor to begin working on the areas in early August. Engineering firm Clark Deitz designed the plans for the project.
Martin Slagter can be reached at 765-454-8570, email@example.com or on Twitter @slagterm.