Parks and rec director keeps an eye on flooding
Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 9:21 pm
By: Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Ken Morris can do little but watch and wait.
It’s a scene he has grown accustomed to in his many years as director of the Union City Parks and Recreation Department — flooding in Graham Park.
With the tremendous amount of local rainfall these past few weeks (nearly 151⁄2 inches over the past month), the eastern side of Graham Park looks more like a swamp these days.
“It’s just saturated,” Mor-ris said about the ground in the park. “The water just doesn’t have anywhere to go.”
At the height of the flooding, Morris said water was standing near the tops of the outfield fences in the ballpark area.
On Monday afternoon, getting to the Community Playground 2000 area in the park was like negotiating a watery obstacle course. Water covered a lengthy stretch of the walking track as well as the sidewalks leading to the playground.
Morris said he and Public Works Director Steve Ladd have met to discuss how to alleviate the park’s flooding problems, and particularly the low-lying area where the Community Playground 2000 is located.
Originally, workers packed in a sinkhole alongside the walking track in hopes that would address the flooding problem. The work did little to help the problem though, so now Morris and Ladd have come up with a plan to trench a ditch from the flooded area around the park and install a drainage pipe leading to the creek that runs through the park.
Right now though, bringing in the heavy equipment needed to dig a trench is impossible with the all the standing water. It may take a few weeks, but Morris and Ladd are going to have to wait until the ground dries out before any work can be done.
The timing of all the flooding in Graham Park presents a big problem for local school groups that traditionally schedule picnics in the park and a visit to the playground area.
“We’re going to have to contact all the groups that have made reservations and alert them about the flood conditions,” Morris said Monday afternoon.
Another concern related to the flooding in the park was being dealt with Monday as crews were out mowing the park.
Standing water and warm weather conditions create ideal conditions for insects such as mosquitoes to breed. By keeping the park mowed even in wet conditions, Morris hopes to manage the mosquito problem.
Published in The Messenger 5.10.11