City officials Monday night updated residents on a Lawrence Drive detention pond, during a community meeting held by Ward 2 Councilman Joseph Mickens.
Construction on the project — which was initiated by the late former Ward 2 Councilman Doug Mackay to alleviate flooding along Maple and Poplar streets and other areas — should be completed within 30 days, weather permitting, said Public Works Director Mike Pratt.
The pond, which will be reseeded with grass, was designed by Neel-Schaffer Inc. and is a “depression” to hold water during rains, Pratt said. He has said that repairs would be made to the existing walking track around the pond.
“It”ll look like it did before, but there”ll be a little recess in the middle,” he said.
“We”re still looking for areas downstream to possibly have more detention areas,” said City Engineer Kevin Stafford. “There”s a lot of water out here.”
“We understand this is not a permanent solution,” Mickens said of the Lawrence Drive detention pond, from which water will be released “gradually” following periods of heavy rain. “But hopefully, this will give us some relief. In about a month”s time, you should see some difference.”
Appeal for fire safety
Also, during the meeting, Columbus Police Chief Joseph St. John informed residents the Columbus Police Department is working to reopen an East Columbus police substation near the RSVP building on Maple Street.
And Columbus Fire Chief Ken Moore appealed to residents to help prevent deadly fires.
“What we bring to you tonight is concern,” Moore said, referring to several recent fires in the city, as well as recent deadly fires in Starkville and at a Hoover, Ala. hotel.
“Ninety-five percent of (fires) are from human error,” he continued. “It”s absolutely senseless; there is no excuse for it. We”re going to lose some more lives around here (without a proactive approach).”
Moore asked residents to call the Columbus Fire Department if they cannot afford or install smoke detectors in their residences or know others who cannot afford or install the life-saving devices.
“It”s going to take neighbors helping neighbors,” he said. “Any death is a senseless death and it”s our goal to have zero.
“It”s amazing to me how some of these fires can get so far gone before someone calls them in (to 911),” he added, encouraging residents to escape through windows, in case of fire, if entrances are blocked by flames.
“Escaping to the back (of the residence or building) is not the answer,” he said.