Bob Bianchi

City engineer, Bob Bianchi talks to the Mansfield City School District about the Touby Run easement agreement.

MANSFIELD -- The City of Mansfield has received permission to build a dry dam on property belonging to Mansfield City Schools.

"As you know, the City of Mansfield has been under a flood plain for hundreds of years," city engineer Bob Bianchi told the Mansfield Board of Education Tuesday night.

"We've been working the last five years and over that period we've determined the best place for a very large dry dam is on the west side (in) North Lake Park."

Bianchi said the dry dam will restrict the flow from Touby Run from reaching and overflowing downtown Mansfield.

Dubbed the Touby Run Flood Mitigation Hazard Project, the $15 million project would be funded by the city's sewer fund revenues.

"Instead of having water come downtown and destroying property, we will have it in a location that is more wooded and would make more sense," the engineer said.

Bianchi said the depth of the water could reach more than 15 feet in parts of the park in the event of a catastrophic flood. The 900-foot long dam will only restrict water in the event of a "100-year flood," Bianchi said. It will be 45 feet at its highest point.

"Do you remember the flood in 2007?" Bianchi posed to the board. "FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) came. The president declared it a disaster and properties were destroyed. This dam is designed to work in an event like this."

Kelly Gorry, an attorney for the school district, said she worked with the city on the new Touby Run Easement Agreement. She said this would not counter other agreements the district has in effect.

The city will owe the district $32,180 for an easement on the project, which is expected to begin building in about four years, two years for design and two years for construction, Bianchi said.

Board president Renda Cline showed concern for students who may walk home after school being curious about excess water.

Bianchi said he would work to have proper signage and students could walk around the water to Fourth Street, as an alternate route.

"I want to reiterate that this is a dry dam. If it's raining hard, like it is now," Bianchi said pointing to a thunderstorm outside, "there will be no (impact) on the area. We are talking about major events; otherwise it's dry."

The board approved the agreement unanimously. 

Later, the board approved of two new signs being purchased with donated money.

The two signs will cost 28,000 each and be placed at Raemelton and near the softball field at Mansfield Senior High School.

"In July, I shared with the board that we wanted to place a sign out front of the board (of education) office. We also had interest in placing a sign at Mansfield Senior High School," Superintendent Stan Jefferson said. "The new sign at Mansfield Senior sign will be paid for thorough donations through class funds left to Mansfield Senior as well as funds from Thomas R. Weaver, a decease alumna who named Mansfield Senior as the beneficiary in his life insurance policy and annuity.

"The balance of the cost will be paid for by the permanent improvement funds for these two signs."

All five board members voted in approval of this business item.

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Staff Reporter

Noah Jones is host to The Open Mic Podcast -- available on Apple Podcasts! He is the crime, education and music reporter for Richland Source. He is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and a giant Cardinals fan.