Sparta subdivision may finally get flood relief

Residents in the Icecap Road subdivision south of Interstate 90 may finally be getting help from the City of Sparta to alleviate a persistent flooding problem in their neighborhood.
Several of them attended Wednesday's Board of Public Works meeting to hear a plan from the city's engineering firm to address the issue, which is limited to nine houses along the eastern border of the Icecap development that are consistently underwater during periods of wet weather.
Matt Morrow of MSA, said he believes the situation can be rectified by installing a 30-inch storm water pipe with catch basins along the back lot lines of the affected homes. The pipe would direct the water to the north, where it would pour into a ditch, run through a culvert under the interstate and eventually end up in the La Crosse River. He also proposed creating a shallow swale along the back of the lot lines to direct any overflow to the north.
Morrow suggested the $265,000 pricetag for the project could be covered by tapping money form TID-6, which the city planned to retire early. He said the TID could be extended to cover the project costs but still close earlier than its originally scheduled termination date.
In order to use revenue from TID-6, the project would have to be bid before April 19, 2020, the end of the TID's expenditure period. Morrow said the city first would have to acquire easements from all the affected homeowners.
That likely won't be a problem, since they were in attendance and seemed amenable to the project, which, if approved, would be completed next summer.
Board member Kevin Brueggeman was concerned that diverting the water to the north of the interstate would only relocate the problem.
"Will we be creating a whole other issue with flooding out someone's farm land?" he asked.
Morrow said the landscape was designed so the water would flow that way long before the development was there. "I don't think it's going to make it any worse."
The property owners have insisted the flooding is caused by topographical conditions that began after the construction of Theisen's immediately to the east of the subdivision.
Morrow disputed that, saying the area always had a high water table, which wouldn't allow for septic systems. That's why it was undevelopable until the city ran sewer and water there in 2005. He said Theisen's and the South Pointe Business Park, which is located across Hwy. 27 from the sudivison, did not make the problem worse.
"If anything, the storm water managment facility out there slows that water down quite a bit," he said.
The board agreed to forward Morrow's proposal to the city's finance committee to finalize a funding plan for the project.

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