Flowery Branch took a step Thursday night toward improving downtown drainage woes — a move officials believe also will help with economic development.
City Council voted to further study solving the longtime problem, including surveying work and construction drawings, in a wider area than originally planned.
The city had been looking to include a stormwater “detention vault” as part of construction of the new City Hall off Railroad Avenue.
But in a presentation Thursday, City Manager Bill Andrew discussed the option of expanding the project’s scope to include a 20-acre “community watershed,” one that include areas around such streets as Pine and Chestnut.
“An issue we’ve had with some developers is that they see (a temporary detention pond in the area) and … it’s a mental barrier they can’t get past,” Andrew told the council.
Building the detention vault and a stormwater system to address the larger watershed problem could cost the city about $805,000 if they’re done at the same time, or some $357,000 less than if the projects were done separately, officials said.
“Doing it all at once seems to make sense,” Councilman Fred Richards said. “This way, we build one complete system and we’re done with it.”
“Eventually, if we want these (surrounding) properties to develop, this has got to be done,” Mayor Mike Miller said.
The vault costs would be included in the City Hall project, with the city looking into tapping into future tax allocation district money to pay for the rest.
A TAD is used to help improve blighted areas by using property tax increments resulting from new growth on public projects to help attract growth and increase the increments.
By law, the money can be used for public utilities improvements, such as stormwater systems.
Councilmen Joe Anglin and Chris Mundy voted against the stormwater study.
“The way I see it is this is sort of an auxiliary cost to City Hall,” said Anglin, who opposed plans for the $5 million city hall. “We wouldn’t be taking on this without City Hall.”