JACKSON COUNTY, MI – Officials have drafted a plan that attempts to prevent high water levels in the Cascades Falls Park lagoons that could be contributing to flooded basements in nearby homes.
At a June 1 meeting, the Jackson County Parks Board unanimously approved sending a recommendation to the County Board of Commissioners to dredge the lagoons and remove a metal plate installed on a culvert in the lagoon near the Cascades Manor House.
Further decisions must be made by county commissioners before the next steps can be taken, said County Board Chairman James “Steve” Shotwell, Jr., adding he is unsure when this recommendation will be presented to the full board.
In late 2020, the county launched a study, led by the Jackson County Department of Transportation with assistance from the Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy, to look at the waterflow around the park. The study was initiated after residents living near the park at 1401 S. Brown St. reported basement flooding dating back to 2003
Related: Water study points to culvert blockage as possible source of home flooding near Cascades
Removing the plate, combined with dredging the lagoons, would lower the surface water elevation of the lagoons while improving the flow path, according to a document presented to the parks board. It could also help the ecosystem of the area by cleaning out sediment and debris that has collected on the lagoon beds over the years, officials said.
A phase-two hydrogeological study still must be conducted and funding needs to be sourced, JCDOT Director Angela Kline said. However, soil testing and wetland delineation will begin once the plan is approved to determine how this work would affect the area, JCDOT Civil Engineer Amelia McElhinney, said.
“We need to understand what is down there,” McElhinney said, referring to the lagoons. “Depending what that soil is carrying, if its contaminated, we can’t use it on site, we’ll have to dispose of it properly. That has a factor on cost.”
The recommended plan would cost between $4 million and $8 million, Kline said. The work would not be complete until 2024, according to the proposal.
Related: Jackson County getting $1M from state to dredge Cascades lagoons. But is it enough?
The county is slated to receive $1 million from the state to dredge the lagoons, but it has only received half of the funds so far, some of which has been spent on the study, County Administrator/Controller Mike Overton said.
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