EDITORIAL: Reed looks ahead on drainage issues

By NEMS Daily Journal

Tupelo’s City Council voted last week to spend $922,000 fixing drainage issues on streets and in neighborhoods in several parts of the city, pleasing residents near or in the problem areas.
Tupelo’s drainage issues aren’t a new phenomenon. The small creeks, drainage ditches and underground drainage systems crisscrossing the city for decades have proven problematic after prolonged rainfall, as new development altered the flood plain, and as aging infrastructure began deteriorating.
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. said Monday he plans to ramp up citywide -planning on drainage issues, including proactive preventive measures.
Reed praised the citywide Drainage Task Force for identifying problems and making recommendations to the administration, City Council and Public Works Department. He said the task force, moving forward, may be called on to meet more often in a more intentional effort to identify where problems are most likely and prevent them.
Reed said creation of a capital expenditures budget helps set a better financial schedule for addressing issues like drainage that aren’t emergencies.
Reed said well planned and desirable growth can have unintended drainage consequences.
In 2010, Reed said, a new development near the Sharon Hills neighborhood, developed in the 1950s, had damaging drainage issues after heavy rainfall because drainage pipes could not handle the runoff from a nearby commercial/residential development with extensive paving and streets. The city responded and made changes to drainage infrastructure to solve the problem.
Reed said he is working with the council, Chief Financial Officer Lynn Norris, and Public Works Director Sid Russell on a capital budget, including drainage, for 2012. The budget year begins Oct. 1.
Reed said drainage planning must include thoroughfare and other street development, commercial, manufacturing and industrial sites with large paved areas, and residential development that diminishes ground absorption, speeds runoff, or effectively changes natural drainage contours.
Drainage work approved last week is comprised of these sites or areas:
• Trout Street – $162,080
• Tolbert Street – $88,668
• Edgemont Circle – $228,808
• Fant Avenue at Rogers Dr. – $33,192
• Hampton Avenue – $55,414
• Mount Vernon Road – $41,542
• Old Belden Circle – $312,429
• Total price: $922,133
Drainage problems aren’t unusual, and even small ones can become personal emergencies. Large drainage issues can threaten multiple properties and endanger residents.
Advance action is possible with aggressive planning and analysis. Reed and other city officials are correctly taking the initiative to prevent unnecessary damage and worry in the years ahead.