Residents living below the Hay Springs High School and Lister-Sage Auditorium next year will see relief from drainage issues that have plagued that area of town.

Hay Springs has been awarded a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant by the Department of Economic Development, as part of the agency’s $12 million award package to 47 local government entities.

“We’ve had some drainage issues off of our Lister-Sage Community Center,” said Hay Springs Council President Jim Varvel. The project will renovate the area in such a way to alleviate the drainage issues and rehabilitate an alley that has been destroyed by the draining water.

The city will add nearly $105,000 in funds for a total project cost of $354,900. Varvel said the project should begin this spring and wrap up within a year.

Daniel Bennett, with the Panhandle Area Development District, said the project received a lot of support from the community. The Pioneer Manor Nursing Home has sustained damage due to the drainage, and SWANN hasn’t always been able to access the alley to empty dumpsters due to the conditions, Bennett said.

Hay Springs has a solid action plan and goal setting model in place, he continued, and dealing with the drainage and sanitary sewer issues in this area of town has been identified as a need for some time.

“But there hasn’t been the funds to be able to do it,” he said. His agency assisted the city in facilitating meetings, assisting with grant writing and will administer the grant.

The project will add a storm sewer conveyance system that will carry the storm water from the high school, Lister-Sage and nursing home area through inlets to an outflow at the bottom of the hill. Moving the water underground, as opposed to letting it continue to run down Third Street, will prevent further erosion, Bennett said.

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In addition, an original clay sewer line in the alley between Baker and Miller streets from Second to Third streets will be replaced and the alley will be paved. It made sense to enhance the storm sewer project with the sanitary sewer upgrade, saving the city from tearing up new work later if the old line failed.

The solution to the drainage problems was chosen after the city conducted a study of the issue.

“There were other alternatives explored,” Bennett said. “But the grade of the properties and the configuration of the buildings and parking lots left no meaningful (water) retention options.”

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