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Posted on Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Washtenaw County to back $3.33M in bonds for flood control in Ann Arbor

By Amy Biolchini


Seattle resident Kristen Kozak fly fishes in the water during Huron River Day on July 14. The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners has backed $3.33 million in projects aimed at reducing phosphorous and E. coli levels in the Huron River.

Daniel Brenner I

Five projects aimed at mitigating flooding and reducing E. coli and phosphorus levels in the Huron River received the full support of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners this week.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday to back a total of $3.33 million in bonds at the request of the county’s Water Resources Commissioner Evan Pratt.

The bonds will be used to fund projects requested by the city of Ann Arbor.

Three of the projects are along Allen Creek, while two are along the Huron River.

Allen Creek watershed:

  • $435,000 bond to design and construct storm water control measures in drains on Fourth Avenue between Huron and Liberty streets in Ann Arbor
  • $1.56 million bond to design and construct storm water control measures in drains on Madison Avenue between S. Seventh Street and Main Street in Ann Arbor
  • $575,000 bond to design and construct storm water control measures in drains on South Forest Avenue from S. University Street to Hill Street

Huron River watershed:

  • $465,000 bond to design and construct rain gardens in Ann Arbor
  • $700,000 bond to plant trees in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor is in the midst of building a rain garden at the intersection of First and Kingsley streets. Designs for a public art installation at the rain garden were recently announced.

All five of the bond projects will be funded through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s clean water revolving funds low-interest loan program.

The bonds are eligible for loan forgiveness that would reduce the obligation payment to about $1.5 million, Pratt said.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.


An Arborigine

Sun, Aug 11, 2013 : 3 a.m.

Low interst loan? Who's buying so close to Detroit?


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 10:29 p.m.

It's probably the real test of a Tea Party member, if they vote against this even though their own basement floods.


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 6:13 p.m.

If this is related to sewage spilling into the river after heavy rains, would it not be more effective to fix the problem at the source? I'm skeptical of the competence level of these decision makers. It seems anyone with connections can "sell" them a "bill of goods". I don't believe in independent studies but I think one is in order in this case.


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

"Ann Arbor is in the midst of building a rain garden at the intersection of First and Kingsley streets. Designs for a public art installation at the rain garden were recently announced." Does this public art saga ever end? The voters said "no."


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 2:21 p.m.

Nice photo of the Huron, but rather misleading. Sort of like putting lipstick on a pig. We have a long way to go to turn this river back into something nice.

Roger Kuhlman

Sun, Aug 11, 2013 : 1:10 a.m.

Ross all parts of the habitat along the Huron Eiver are heavily degraded--it is just some that are far worse than others. People can not be proud about the ecological state the river and its rivurine habitat are in.

Roger Kuhlman

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

And we think we are going to improve the natural habitats and native environments along the Huron River by encourarging more development and more people to come to the Ann Arbor area. Let us put away such dreamy nonsense and concentrate on the fact that we already enough people and development in the Ann Arbor area and do not need more.


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

Is any of this likely to help with the flooding in the 4th ward near Lawton? Let's take care of our residents' flooded basements before we worry too much about the phosphorus in the river. Priorities, people.

Seasoned Cit

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

Haven't we just had 4th Ave torn up all summer and resurfaced. Does this now mean that to do the drain work they'll be back to tear it up again for that work? if so.... sounds like great Planning... Will there be public art to go along with it??


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

The work done on 4th was what is described in the article. Lighten up , already.


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 11:44 a.m.

Just like Fast Food restaurants with their Mystery Meat, we have govt with Mystery Money. Who pays? County residents to plant trees and rain gardens in the City of Ann Arbor? Or do Michigan taxpayers (thru State Income Tax and myriad other taxes)? Or do all the citizens of the U.S.A. thru some sort of Federal Environmental Protection Agency program? My position is the Press should report the True Source of govt Mystery Money, rather than simply report that govt money from a mystery source will plant trees and rain gardens inside the City of Ann Arbor. Hey, where do the Cities of Ypsilanti, Saline, Milan, Chelsea and townships fit into the "plan/scheme?" Not.

Basic Bob

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

The county is only backing the loans, not repaying them. The county water resources (drain) commissioner is empowered by state law to help cities and townships qualify for state support. Ann Arbor taxpayers are paying for the project. Ypsilanti benefits directly from this program because it will reduce pollution and sewer overflows into the Huron River upstream of their city. When the other cities, villages, and townships want to take on their own projects, they are free to use the water resources commissioner and state grants and loan programs. Which they all do.


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

Who is going to buy these bonds to pay for this? Does the taxpayer get stuck for this again?

Roger Kuhlman

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 3:29 p.m.

I see that Left-wing Democratic party politicians on the Washtenaw Board of Commissioner are raiding the 'free' money tree again. How fiscally responsibile these people are. No need to consider deeply and thoughtfully whether this project is really needed or not and whether everybody should pay for it.

Basic Bob

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

It comes out of the state general fund and the city water and sewer fund. They get their money from taxpayers.