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As she does every month, Vinton-Shellsburg Superintendent Mary Jo Hainstock spent hours preparing information to present to the local policy-makers, explaining the newest school projects and their impact on the community.

But this time, her presentation was not for the Vinton-Shellsburg School Board; instead, she spoke to the Vinton City Council.

Council members had asked her to come to their Jan. 9 meeting to answer questions about the new track/drainage project planned for the Karr athletic complex. Specifically they expressed concern about how the drainage of the football field area would impact the perennial flooding problems in parts of southeast Vinton.

Because of the flatness of the land between the football field and the Cedar River to the east, and because of the high ground south of Vinton – an estimated 750 to 1,000 acres – that drains into the area, heavy rains cause frequent flooding of homes and basements for those who live east of the field.

That has gone on for years, and residents say they have noticed the problem worsening with every new building project. Those projects include the construction of the new high school and parking lot, as well as city housing developments on the west side of C Avenue.

Council members asked Hainstock for more information about the high school project field project.

The district plans to rebuild the track, which has deteriorated over time, as well as sustained damage in the wind storm of July 2011. Hainstock said that while the district also plans to replace the grass with an artificial turf, that project is awaiting funding and does not seem to be on track for this year. She said school leaders are making plans to replace the track this year and work on the turf project in the future, when funding is available.

The project also includes a drainage plan for under the field area designed to help alleviate flooding concerns. The area is often inundated during the spring and after heavy rains – deep enough at times for swimming.

During last year’s state qualifying track meet, race officials delayed the event until water could be removed from the inside running lanes. Teachers and coaches used shovels and squeegees, and crews from McDowell’s brought large fans to blow water off the track.

Mayor John Watson shared some history of flooding in the area. He said that any rainfall of more than two inches in a short period of time will cause water problems for those in the area.

He and the superintendent discussed drainage pipes in the area, the water-retaining areas near the field and other things leaders have tried over the years.

“We know what we’ve got,” said council member Bud Maynard. “How can we work together to fix it?”

Hainstock, who had attended the meeting with an engineer from the company that is doing the project, said that company’s engineers would look at the water drainage situation. She offered to share more information with city leaders as it becomes available.

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Comments (1)

All due respect to the engineer but a couple of opinions should be sought - I believe an engineer was also responsible for the drainage issues associated with the new high school as well. I also feel we have many other worthy projects in need of attention than that of another athletic improvement, for example the parking lot at Tilford Elementary or something that impacts academics directly - Just a thought!
By: Matt Salger on January 16th 5:51pm

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