Flooding in the Fulton Neighborhood
Update – January 2003
While the City of Minneapolis remains committed to mitigating the flooding in the Fulton neighborhood, certain fiscal pressures have come into play. In the last few months, it has become clear that the original budget developed for the City flood mitigation program in 1997 did not accurately reflect the actual work that needed to be completed and the costs that would be incurred. Therefore, the entire program is underfunded and a number of projects will have to be delayed – including the Fulton project.
Therefore, while analysis and planning for the Fulton mitigation effort continues, implementation and construction has not yet been scheduled.
As developments changed, we will keep residents informed.
Update - January 2002
Note: To review an archive on the background of the issue, the task force, and other documents, please click here.
On December 5, 2001 the task force discussed its findings and recommendations at a neighborhood meeting held at Pershing Park. The made an abbreviated presentation at the Fulton Neighborhood Association monthly meeting on December 12, 2001. It also presented copies of its report, Summary of Findings and Recommendations , a comprehensive report of its principles, findings, and recommendations, as well as results of the neighborhood survey.
The task force outlined the principles that guided its work:
"The Guiding Principles should be adopted and used by the City of Minneapolis to develop conceptual and final flooding design plans.
- The highest priority is placed on the flooding of homes, businesses and churches. A secondary priority is placed on the flooding of garages, followed in importance by yard and street flooding.
- Stormwater management and related engineering solutions should be implemented in harmony with other City and neighborhood concerns, including forestry and the quality of life in the neighborhoods.
- Residents of the area feel strongly that mature trees are very important to the character of the neighborhood. They also provide a variety of other important benefits -- shade, buffering of sound and light, etc. Trees are especially important to maintaining a residential atmosphere in an area affected by adjacent commercial properties.
- Achieving 100% of design standard for the 100-year rain event needs to be considered in the context of the budget and other neighborhood values.
- The budget ($2.2 million) was based on a project that is not likely to be approved by the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. If no other solutions within this budget are found acceptable to the neighborhood the City should explore a phased project, which addresses the areas that experience the worst house flooding first.
- Pershing Park is common space for people throughout the neighborhood. Stormwater is a common problem. Parks are used throughout the country as part of stormwater management systems. We believe the Park Board and Public Works Department should cooperate to address a problem shared by all so that no single area of the neighborhood is unfairly burdened.
- Engineering solutions that include a negative impact (such as loss of trees) will be more politically acceptable if they are located near properties that experience flooding.
- Some non-traditional stormwater management techniques such as rain barrels, rain gardens, dry wells, infiltration cells, trenches, and retrofitting of large institutional parking lots with sunken parking lot islands and/or permeable pavements may reduce flooding on some properties and reduce the demand on the municipal stormwater management system." (p.4)
"Based on the component and alternative analysis discussed above the Task Force recommends the following alternative. The alternative is composed of primary and secondary components. The primary components address the majority of the stormwater. The secondary components include options for assisting in stormwater management on both a smaller scale such as catching run-by stormwater, innovative stormwater management, assistance or education to institutions or residents, and government controls such as permits.
The recommended alternative consists of a phased approach. Phase I includes placement of tanks or piping in areas of house flooding following the Task Forces Guiding Principles. Phase II would be implemented if Phase I does not meet the stormwater management goals. Phase II would be combined with flood mitigation efforts with the neighborhood north of 50 th Street for placement of tanks under paved surfaces within Pershing Park. Phase II may require additional piping to Pershing Park from the neighborhood south of 50 th Street. Phase I and II should protect homes for 10-year and 100-year flood events as described in the Guiding Principles.
Phase I consists of tanks installed on 51 st Street between Chowen and Beard (one tank) and between Abbott and Zenith (one tank) and large pipes or small tanks on Chowen between 50 th Street and 52 nd Street, possibly extending toward 53rd if additional capacity is needed, and it is appropriate from a design perspective. The pipes or tanks should be installed so that either minimal damage to boulevard trees takes place or that boulevard trees will be replaced at the end of construction. Permanent removal of boulevard trees is unacceptable. Removal of mature boulevard trees in the 50xx block of Chowen is not acceptable under the Task Force's Guiding Principles as follows.
"Residents of the area feel strongly that mature trees are very important to the character of the neighborhood. They also provide a variety of other important benefits -- shade, buffering of sound and light. Trees are especially important to maintaining a residential atmosphere in an area affected by adjacent commercial properties."
Another variation on this alternative is to review new information from recently installed Minnehaha Creek stormwater gauges to recalculate the impact of adding stormwater to the Creek. This information could be compiled in the next 1 to 2 years prior to final decision on Phase II.
Secondary components should be included with the primary components discussed above and include the following:
- Intercept water in alleys and direct to storm sewer system.
- Install jake grates or other structure to prevent run-by flow on York into Christ the King parking lot
- Implement City permits for commercial/retail/institutional establishments to not allow increase in stormwater runoff from new developments or modifications to existing properties. We understand an existing City ordinance is in place for this, but want to make sure that future development or redevelopment stormwater impacts to existing neighborhoods is understood.
- Allocate some percent to be determined (approximately 1 – 10%) of total project budget to assist neighborhood with innovative stormwater management (in particular, large facilities (e.g. schools, churches) may benefit from these techniques or possibly residents with flooding issues not correctable from stormwater redesign). This may also include retrofit of current large institutional parking lots and homeowner education (may require City Council action).
- Modify crowns on 50th and Chowen and 52nd and Chowen - if feasible and does not impact those down gradient.
This alternative is meant to be conceptual and additional work will be required by the City to perform stormwater modeling and cost estimating to determine whether this alternative is feasible. City engineering should adopt the Task Force’s Guiding Principles as part of their final design criteria. The Task Force understands they will have the opportunity to review the conceptual and final designs.
Should the alternative discussed above not be: 1) feasible, 2) within the $2.2 million budget or 3) approved by City Council, we recommend that the City adopt the Task Force’s Guiding Principles to develop additional alternatives, using a phased approach and higher budget as necessary." (p. 17).
Final Task Force Meeting
On February 28, Council Member Lane and representatives from the Department of Public Works met with the task force for the final time. Public Works reported that they are still reviewing the task forces report but expect to forward a plan that will reflect the task forces recommendations installing storage tanks at Pershing Park and larger pipes on Chowen Ave. and 51 st Street. In addition, pipes would be upgraded on Abbott Ave.
Public Works expects to finalize its plans for City Council approval over the next couple of months. In all likelihood, the work will be spread over two different construction years due to limited funds and other projects that must all be completed. The tank installation at Pershing will be the first phase so that when larger pipes are installed the water they carry will have somewhere to go.
The City will continue to keep the task force and residents updated as information becomes available.
Last updated Sep. 27, 2011