City Council approves Greek Week requests

Kayla Schantz

The Ames City Council approved requests to close streets and prohibit parking in the residential greek community for the 2011 Greek Week activities.

The regulations will be in place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 2.

The streets will be blocked off to ensure safety during the annual Greek Olympics, which includes events such as tug-o-war, road race, egg joust and bed race.

Many of the events take place near or on the streets in the area, which is why the Greek Week Central Committee requests traffic closures each year.

“It’s more of a safety concern to close the streets,” said Kayla Hunefeld, senior in advertising and Greek Week general co-chairwoman.

Streets that will be closed include parts of Sunset Drive, Ash Avenue and Pearson Avenue. Lynn Avenue will be closed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day.

Parking will be prohibited on both sides of Gray Avenue, Greeley Street, Pearson Avenue, Lynn Avenue and Sunset Drive.

Mitch McDermott, junior in agricultural and life sciences education and logistics coordinator on the Greek Week Central Committee, said the event will require eight barricades to block traffic.

McDermott also told the council that there would be two student aides to monitor each barricade and direct traffic.

Steve Schainker, city manager, said in his recommendation to the council that the event is “highly dependent upon city assistance through the allowance of street closures and parking prohibitions so that it may occur in a safe and smooth manner.”

Flood Mitigation

As Ames is still recovering from damages caused by the floods in August, the Ames City Council is taking steps for both short-term and long-term flood mitigation actions.

City staff updated the council Tuesday night on their progress to achieve these mitigation goals.

“There are a lot of different elements of this report; they’re intermolded together,” said Bob Kindred, assistant city manager.

The flood mitigation plan is divided into two areas: river and watershed flooding, and localized flooding.

Within both areas, the city’s goals are to identify the short-term and long-term actions, decide by which entity and with what funding the actions should take place and explore how local policies can improve the current situations.

As presented by the city staff, there has been progress made toward achieving the set goals in each area of the plan.

For short-term flood mitigation, extensive contracts have been made with owners of potential buy-out properties. There are also various Federal Emergency Management Agency and Federal Highway Administration projects underway.

In addition, the city has used community input to identify the locations that have experienced previous flood damage.

The city is also seeking engineering evaluation to identify causes of flash flooding, as well as possible mitigation steps and cost estimates.

For long-term mitigation actions, the city is focusing on educating residents to purchase flood insurance, even if they live outside of floodplains.

“We’d like to educate our citizens more,” Kindred said. “You don’t have to live in a floodplain to [purchase] flood insurance. We’d like to help people in vulnerable areas realize that.”

The city will also educate residents in the steps they can take to mitigate flood damage in their own homes and properties.

To accomplish these goals, representatives from the city, Story County, Iowa State and the Iowa Department of Transportation first met in November to discuss potential coordination of mitigation efforts.

The group plans to establish mitigation steps that include forming a leadership group to plan and carry out the actions, identify potential funding sources and conduct meteorological and floodplain studies.

The group will meet again Wednesday with the Iowa Flood Center for further discussion on these issues.

“It’s just the fact that it’s going to take awhile to get them done,” Kindred said. “But if we can just continue to keep moving along, that’s the best I think we can do.”

“This is the game plan now,” Schainker said. “This is the skeleton for how we’re moving forward.”