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Rogers to receive FEMA dollars for repair, improvement to Lake Atalanta

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ROGERS -- Lake Atalanta will be safeguarded from future flooding once repairs are made with federal money, Mayor Greg Hines said during a City Council meeting on Tuesday.

The 235-acre park had about $500,000 worth in damage during a storm that released more than 8 inches of rain in Northwest Arkansas during the final week of April. The region was declared an emergency area during June and the area was approved for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Council action

Rogers’ City Council met Tuesday and approved:

• Agreements necessary for the Bellview South Road project and accepting the lowest qualified bid for construction.

• A Crafton, Tull & Associates contract for construction observation, inspections and material testing.

• A contract change with Crafton, Tull & Associates for moving utilities associated with the Pleasant Grove Road Phase III project for design services of water and sewer line extensions.

• Accepting a $12,378 grant from the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District.

• Rezoning 0.42 acres on the south side of West Pleasant Grove Road, 0.60 miles west of the intersection of Interstate 49 from agricultural to residential office.

• Rezoning 1.97 acres on the northwest corner of the intersection of South Dixieland Road and West Laurel Avenue from agricultural to residential single family.

Source: Staff report

The City Council authorized a $145,750 contract with Garver LLC for design services for transportation-related damage, such as damages to a bridge and two pedestrian bridges. Alderman Gary Townzen said the Transportation Committee approved the contract unanimously.

FEMA reimburses 80 percent of the cost of repair, according to documents provided at the council meeting.

Community Development Director John McCurdy said in some cases FEMA extends assistance dollars to further improvements if they deem it warranted.

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"We'd been working closely with FEMA to make sure they're on board with improving the infrastructure and mitigate future floods," McCurdy said while addressing the council. "This is in addition to reconstruction. [FEMA] is on board with improving...beyond the road and foot bridges, to the weir, storm water protection and drainage ditch."

Redesign is critical to preventing flood damage, he said.

"This will repair the system that failed in the flood," Hines said. "It will look at areas that didn't fail for redesign but should have increased support. This is the time to do it, while we have our federal partners."

Crossland Construction is the sole source contract for construction services. Though the city ordinarily selects a design firm first, McCurdy said the city has the authority to put the project out to bid again if they disagree with the Crossland service quote.

Garver was selected because it has a strong background in design for bridges, McCurdy said.

Other improvements will be made to stream banks and to stormwater protection structures on the north side of Walnut Street. FEMA teams moved relatively fast on Lake Atalanta, McCurdy said, because they wanted to tie up loose ends before Houston was hit by Hurricane Harvey.

Contracts will remain unsigned until reimbursements are official. If the city receives less than anticipated that could impact how much of the lake area would be improved, McCurdy said.

"We're coming at this as aggressively as we can," he said. No estimate of the cost of improvement was available at the time.

Mayor Greg Hines said he was at Lake Atalanta when the flooding began.

"It came on so fast it was almost Biblical," Hines said. "I was concerned for public safety. I think we'll have [Lake Atalanta] beefed up almost more than it needs to be. We're grateful that FEMA is working with us."

NW News on 09/13/2017

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