By Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune
---- — TIPTON — Businesses located along the north bank of Big Cicero Creek in Tipton could be asked to pay a percentage of the reconstruction costs.
Jeff Fox, with Christopher Burke Engineering, said 1,000 feet of the north bank is eroding as a result of the flow of Big Cicero Creek and is threatening the parking lots that extend from the McDonald’s to Dan Young Chevrolet.
The businesses could be asked to pay between 25 and 50 percent of the total reconstruction costs, which have been estimated at between $400,000 and $575,000.
The Big Cicero Creek Joint Drainage Board, which includes Tipton, Hamilton and Clinton counties, voted to have the three county surveyors meet with the engineering firm and property owners to make a recommendation at the August meeting.
Last month Fox offered several possible remedies to the bank erosion and, on Wednesday, he recommended a vegetative retaining wall with the use of plastic sheeting to stabilize the bank with a backfill of sand and gravel.
He said the work could be performed in three phases and estimated the cost per phase at between $144,000 and $192,000.
Fox said the first phase would focus on the area with the most severe erosion and bank deterioration. It also would securing an overflow pipe to prevent future problems.
He said the work could be done from the north bank of Big Cicero Creek and include a guardrail along the properties to prevent motorists from driving into the creek.
When asked how long the repairs would last, Fox indicated it would be a long-term fix and said the work would stabilize the bank and encourage vegetation growth.
“This will reform the bank,” he said.
Tipton County Commissioner Mike Cline said phasing in the work would make it easier to pay for the entire project.
“This is a priority because of the businesses that could be impacted,” he said.
Kent Ward, surveyor for Hamilton County, asked if the Tipton project and one in Hamilton County both be done in phases at the same time.
The Hamilton County project along Big Cicero Creek is estimated at $400,000.
Jason Henderson, Tipton County surveyor, said completing a phase of both projects at the same time would cost approximately $320,000. The board has less than $500,000 in available funding.
Board members discussed seeking payment from the five to six property owners in Tipton who will benefit from the reconstruction.
“They encroached on the easement,” Ward said.
Cline asked how the board would determine how much each property owner would pay.
Ward said they could be charged on a per foot basis and the amount the businesses would contribute could range from 25 percent to 50 percent of the total cost.
Henderson indicated he favored a special assessment on the benefiting properties.
“It has been done before,” Ward said of the special assessment.
Fox said it would take up to two months to complete the design work on the Tipton project and another four months to receive the necessary permits from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the Army Corps of Engineers.