SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - The City of Springfield will apply for a grant worth $175,637.50 from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Springfield City Council just approved an ordinance that gives the City Manager permission to also accept the grant if it is awarded. The money will be used for the Stormwater Improvement Project on Fassnight Creek near the Springfield Art Museum.
Chris Dunnaway, with Springfield's Stormwater Engineering Division, explained these improvements are needed because FEMA redid their floodplain maps for the area in 2016 and extended the watershed east of the museum. "Their standard is to go all the way up to one square mile in watershed and where we're at now, near the Art Museum, is about 1.4 square miles or about 950 acres," began Dunnaway. "They're going to go ahead and extend the floodplain up to this point."
The Stormwater Improvement Project will widen the Fassnight Creek channel, remove or enlarge some of the culverts, and add natural vegetation.
Dunnaway said the project will also cut down water pollution. "We're trying to slow that run off down, help soak it in, use the soils and the natural substrate of the creek to help," he said. "Basically, the creek has kind of a natural process to help process pollutants and we're going to take advantage of that."
With the area being at a heightened risk of flooding, that also means the artwork inside the Springfield Art Museum is in jeopardy. This is one of the reasons stormwater improvements were also outlined in the Springfield Art Museum's 30-Year Master Plan released last fall. Director Nick Nelson talked about how the danger of flooding became far too real during heavy rainfall in May of 2018. "We didn't see any flood damage, though the water did go over the bridge in the entryway to the museum," said Nelson. "It really highlighted the complexity of the water issue."
The city is working to secure funding for the estimated $1.8 million project. The goal is to start construction in the summer of 2020, if not sooner.