Second opinion saves Ossian more than $500,000

June 21, 2013

By GLEN WERLING

Having the courage to explore outside of what the experts claim is needed helped Ossian to save more than $500,000 this year.
Members of the Ossian Stormwater Management Board were faced with a bowl-shaped problem back in 2006. In the area bordered by Roe and Mill streets and Homestead and Highland avenues, water would collect — mainly during heavier rain events.
It would rush into the area from the east as it sought its way to the town’s natural drainage feature, the Eight Mile Creek.
There was a 10-inch drainage tile in place, but heavy rains would overwhelm it and then the water would be caught in the bowl-shaped land feature bordered by the four city streets. Water would back up in the backyards of people who lived in the area and would encroach upon and even enter homes in the heaviest rains.
That prompted the stormwater board to seek a solution and the members turned to the engineering firm they had hired to provide those solutions.
The cost was estimated at $620,000 to install a pipe that would act as a drain for the bowl. The recommendation by the engineers was to float a bond issue for the project.
Rose Barrick wasn’t on the board at the time but she voiced her concerns over such expensive projects being proposed by the engineers retained by the board.
When she was appointed to the board, she set about finding less expensive solutions to the problems. For about four years, Barrick and board members Dennis Ramey and Tim Miller brainstormed different ideas  to take care of what came to be known as the Roe Street problem. It was especially important to Miller because living on Mill Street in that area meant it was his backyard that would often flood in heavy rains.
Finally, they came up with a solution that they believed would be far less expensive and just as effective. Instead of taking the pipe up the middle of Roe Street, as the engineer had proposed, they would take the pipe through the backyards between the houses  that face Mill Street on the south side and Roe Street on the north side.
That project idea seemed even more plausible, when last year, Indiana Michigan Power removed a number of mature trees that had grown up in the utility easement that the board was considering using for the pipe.
The board’s former engineer didn’t think the board’s plan for the drainage was a good idea and wouldn’t work very well, and the  board decided to change engineers. The engineering firm for the town’s other projects, Fleis & Vandenbrink, believed that the  board’s plan could work and engineer Marty Spees put together some plans and drawings.
Earlier this year, the project was bid and earlier this month, it was completed with a 30-inch tile between the houses.
The price tag was $76,900 and the board will not have to borrow money to pay for it.
As Martin observed, sometimes it pays to get a second opinion.υ

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