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Jonesboro to consider Irvin Street drainage project

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Recent flooding in some northern parts of metro Atlanta has influence the City of Jonesboro to re-evaluate the infrastructure of certain neighborhoods.

On Monday, city officials will consider applying for a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address drainage issues along Irvin Street.

According to Mayor Luther Maddox, the city is considering applying for a $550,000 grant to implement drainage and erosion control along the residential street. The area, which abuts the Jonesboro City Cemetery, is currently vulnerable to flooding, Maddox said.

"The flooding issue that has happened in Atlanta has really gotten us wanting to be proactive about those kinds of things," he said. "We identified this problem on Irvin Street. We've had water run across the streets, and so forth. The drainage ditches and covers haven't been able to take it all. We have some houses there in a lower area ... that's what we're trying to protect."

According to Maddox, the city would use the grant to apply riprap, a type of concrete rubble, to culverts neighboring Irvin Street, to control the flow of rainwater between Stockbridge Road and the Jonesboro City Cemetery. In addition, he said, the grant would also be used to resurface the road and install sidewalks along Irvin Street.

A few years ago, the city applied for a similar grant -- approximately $375,000 -- to address flooding and erosion along Spring Street, Maddox said.

"It's in the neighborhood of $550,000 for the entire project," he said. "It will probably be in two phases, the first phase taking care of the drainage and channeling the water. The second phase would be going in and resurfacing the streets and putting sidewalks in. We'll have to get construction easements from the residents to work on their property, but it should really help the residents."

Maddox said the grant would be predicated on Jonesboro paying for the cost of planning and engineering for the project. He said the city would likely pay for planning and engineering with Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds.

Jonesboro Public Works Director Joe Nettleton said the area around Irvin Street is one of the city's oldest and most populated neighborhoods. He said he believes the project may help make the neighborhood safer.

"That's one of the few neighborhoods where there are not many houses that are vacant," Nettleton said. "People walk over to Stockbridge Road to the Dollar Store and [to the] Ingles that used to be over there. You have to have sidewalks for them to, at least, try to make it safer for the citizens in that area."

The city is scheduled to vote on whether to pursue the grant during its Nov. 9 council meeting, according to Maddox.