The town of Thurmont moved one step closer to tackling the flooding issues that have long plagued those who live along the west side of Emmitsburg Road.

After hiring a Hagerstown-based engineering consulting firm over the summer to study the source of this flooding, the town’s commissioners last week heard recommendations for how it might be mitigated.

In the 11 years Bill Buehrer has been a Thurmont town commissioner, discussions on the Emmitsburg flooding issues have come up again and again, he said. But before hearing the presentation shared by representatives from ARRO Consulting, Inc. — the firm hired to conduct the study — town officials had never had such a clear view of the problem and its possible remedies, the commissioner said.

“The residents are gonna be tickled to death,” he remarked.

There’s still a lot of work to do, Mayor John Kinnaird jumped in, “but at least [residents] have an answer now that they can look down the road and see something coming.”

The two ARRO representatives attending the meeting shared four potential paths forward the town could take to address the flooding issues, but highlighted the last one as being particularly promising. This option included constructing two stormwater basins — one upstream from the culvert, on the Rambler Inn property, and one downstream — and increasing the culvert’s size.

Kinnaird agreed this possibility seemed like “the way to go and get the biggest bang for the buck out of it.” The fact that the town already owns property downstream from the culvert, 99 Radio Lane, made it seem especially appealing, he said at last week’s council meeting. Thurmont was thinking about this property’s potential for stormwater management when it made the purchase a few years back, Kinnaird added.

Installing a stormwater management pond at 99 Radio Lane would also help with flooding issues along Woodside Avenue, Kinnaird explained after the meeting.

Building these two basins would slow the flow of water down Woodside Avenue and Emmitsburg Road, Kinnaird said, but residents along the roadways wouldn’t see the project’s full benefit until the town bolsters the existing culverts.

Kinnaird previously said stormwater has no way to flow out of the area except for two small culverts about a quarter of the way up Emmitsburg Road. Since they were constructed too high in relation to the water level, the area has to get mostly flooded before stormwater starts flowing from the channels.

Kinnaird estimates flooding affects about a dozen houses on the west side of Emmitsburg Road. Two residences in particular are hit hard by rainstorms — water flows in between them, swelling so high it looks like a river. It rushes through their fences and fills in their backyards, making a real mess of their properties, Kinnaird said.

Changes to the climate have made the issue even worse over the years, as rainfall increases and storm events become more severe, he added. Though the area used to flood once every year or two, there were three storms last year that caused some pretty extensive flooding, Kinnaird said.

Funding can be a roadblock in any project like this one, said the mayor, but he spoke optimistically about the options available to the town. There are plenty of state and federal grants it could apply for, he said, and he’d also be in favor of floating a bond to cover the cost, which he doesn’t anticipate will be “overly expensive.” The town may also be able to use some of the money it received from the American Recovery Plan Act to pay for the project, he said.

But the town still has a long to-do list to complete before it addresses the question of funding. Next, it will hold a public hearing on the flood mitigation options and welcome public comment, though there are some “behind-the-scenes” details the town must iron out before scheduling this meeting. At the hearing, Kinnaird said officials hope to have as much material on hand as possible to answer resident questions, though he anticipates they’ll still have to “outsource” some answers.

After this meeting, commissioners will select one of ARRO’s recommendations and commission another engineering study. Once that study is complete and commissioners receive an estimate for the project’s cost, they will search for bidders to do the work, Kinnaird said.

Still, the information ARRO shared with the commissioners last week set them up to move forward with integrity in the process, Buehrer said. When discussing the flooding issues before, he said, all they had was opinion.

“And you know what opinion is,” he said. “So, thank you, gentlemen. First class.”

Follow Angela Roberts on Twitter: @24_angier

(11) comments

DickD

I have some extra razors for Kinnard.

C.D.Reid

FYI, Dick, that is not a current picture of him. All of the hair on his head is significantly shorter due to medical reasons. You could practice on getting the spelling of his name correct, though. He might appreciate that.

DickD

Should I care, Seedy?

C.D.Reid

Obviously you don't, Dicky. But, it really isn't all that hard to get the spelling of someone's name right when it's right there in front of you.

Then again, I guess it is for some people.

newspostreader

Residents of Thurmont didn't vote for him for his ability to use a razor. We voted for him because he's a da*n good Mayor who does an amazing job running the town. Why does it matter if he has a beard? That's not part of the mayor's job description.

C.D.Reid

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

So the best you can do is disparage the man's appearance, DickD? How very mature of you. BTW, I think you're a racist. If not, prove it. (sound familiar?)

C.D.Reid

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][lol]

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

CD, do you think DickD would've made the same comment if it was a Black guy with a 'fro and a beard?

C.D.Reid

Oh, hell no, W.T.F., doing that would put into question his hypocrisy, and we all know that's firmly implanted in his liberal indoctrination.

joelp77440

Now that the holidays are over, it's glad to see Santa working outside of the North Pole!

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