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Marshall takes new approach for alley drainage petition

MARSHALL — A petition to add a storm sewer and paving to a Marshall alleyway ran into some snags over cost earlier this month. But now there’s a plan that could carry a smaller cost for affected homeowners, city staff said.

“What’s coming to you tonight is a split of the project,” said Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson, speaking to Marshall City Council members on Tuesday night.

The storm sewer would be installed in the alley this year, and the city would wait until next spring to talk with property owners and see if the paving part of the project is still needed. The cost of the storm sewer project would also be assessed to participating properties, and not to every property on the alley.

City staff met with homeowners from the 100 and 200 blocks of South Whitney and South High Streets at City Hall on Monday, Olson said.

“We wanted to talk to the property owners before we brought it to council, to let them know the results of their request,” he said.

A petition from homeowners along the alley had originally called for the city to install a storm sewer line to help with drainage, and to pave the alley in concrete. The concrete would help direct the flow of water and get rid of ruts and potholes in the alleyway. However, some homeowners in the neighborhood said they were concerned the cost of special assessments for the project would be higher than the benefit to their property.

At Monday’s meeting with property owners, Olson said, “What we did was we kept the ideas separate,” of the storm sewer and paving. And at the same time, he said, “When we took a look at it, we made the recommendation that the entire alley doesn’t need a physical storm sewer installed.”

The storm sewer would only need to extend along only about half of the alley, Olson said. Each property owner could install their own drainage tile line that connects to the storm sewer, he said. Not every property owner would need to participate in the drainage project — for example, Olson said, three properties at one end of the alley actually drain to East College Drive, and wouldn’t need to take part.

“We advised that they would not participate in the costs of the improvements on the southern side of the alley,” Olson said.

“We also discussed that the cost of the storm sewer would be borne by each of the people that do participate — so instead of 21 properties, we used 18 properties for participation in that storm sewer project.”

Each property owner who wanted to connect to the storm sewer would pay for their own connection, Olson said.

“And while we do not know the cost of the project at this time,” Olson said, “We will say that hopefully our engineer’s estimate is on the high end, and that came to about $2,600 apiece” for participating properties.

The portion of the petition that would pave the alley would wait for now, Olson said.

Council members voted to approve the plans for the storm sewer, and call for bids on the project.

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