City Council to discuss flood mitigation possibilities

Sarah Haas

City administrators will present suggestions for possible next steps in the city’s response to the record flooding that occurred in August at their meeting Tuesday.

The presentation will highlight the city’s response to the flood of 1993, which also devastated a large swath of Ames properties. Following the flooding, the city commissioned a flood plain management study. A cooperative effort between the city, Iowa State, Story County and the Iowa Department of Transportation, the study was completed in 1996.

The study concluded that the city should flood-proof vulnerable buildings and expand the city’s flood plain development regulations.

Iowa State received its own flood mitigation study in 1994. According to a report prepared by city officials for Tuesday’s meeting, flood proofing Lied Recreation Athletic Center and the University Village levee were “determined to not be economically justified.” However, the report’s cost/benefit analysis did conclude that “it was economically justified for structure flood-proofing at Hilton Coliseum and the Scheman Building, as well as for a Maple-Willow-Larch levee.”

City officials maintain that while the flood wall at MWL provided adequate protection from August’s flooding, the “minor improvements” installed at Hilton and Scheman were not sufficient.

The city’s report for Tuesday’s meeting will suggest local entities again commission a flood plain management study in order to best establish “flood mitigation priorities and regulatory changes.”

Other initiatives suggested in the report include: applying for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding for potential acquisition of additional flood-prone properties, conduct engineering evaluations in sanitary sewer inflow and infiltration, water distribution system stream crossings, updated steam bank assessment and city-wide low point drainage needs.

The meeting will be held in council chambers in City Hall, 515 Clark Ave., at 7 p.m. Tuesday.