Crystal accepts proposal to mitigate flooding from DeCola Pond area

Yunker Park to receive storm drain expansion to remedy downstream storm water flooding

By Laci Gagliano
Sun Post Newspapers

The Crystal City Council approved a resolution at a March 7 council meeting to mitigate flooding stemming from the DeCola Pond area.

The five ponds, which are part of the Bassett Creek Watershed, are located near Winnetka Avenue and Medicine Lake Road, and have caused nearby residents in Crystal, New Hope and Golden Valley issues with flooding for decades, due to low-lying terrain. Standing water stemming from flooding has closed the intersection, and risks damaging homes surrounding the area.

Crystal council members had been hesitant to move forward with a previous mitigation proposal from consultants who assessed the situation in the three cities. Council members cited a large contingency in the proposal and the imbalanced formula used to calculate the costs each city would incur for the mitigations. While New Hope and Golden Valley have potential for commercial value in the properties within the flood zone, Crystal’s leaders say the flood zone within the city is strictly residential, with lower valuation.

An updated study determined the scope of each project, with each city agreeing to individually manage its own affected areas. Yunker Park in Crystal is the only portion of the city that falls within the flood mitigation project.

City Engineer Mark Ray said city officials from the three cities met with the state Department of Natural Resources representatives to discuss options, ultimately resolving to work individually for all aspects of the project, including funding and management.

“There’s no financial commitment,” Ray assured the council before the motion was passed. “Our only project will be with Yunker Park, trying to expand the storm water drainage there, then doing what we can to support fundraising and other opportunities in the watershed area.”

Ray said after the meeting that mitigating the flooding addresses the low-lying nature of the park and issues faced by maintenance workers, including that the low area gets too wet and soggy and lawnmowers get stuck trying to mow, and residents, who can’t use the low area for recreation.

“Crystal is moving forward with a scaled back version of Yunker Park because in addition to helping improve the downstream flooding concern, the existing low area has been a problem for years from a maintenance standpoint and concerns from residents,” Ray said.

Improving storm water drainage has been one of the primary solutions for all of the flooding problems. In 2016, New Hope received a proposal to store 3.3 acres of storm water in a collection pond, instead opting to consider a less expensive underground storage alternative. Golden Valley is also pursuing an underground storm water storage system.

Contact Laci Gagliano at [email protected]