Floodplain group making progress

By Bryan Richardson

The Blue River floodplain working group continues to make progress, according to a presentation Thursday at the city/county joint meeting in the county commission chambers.

The Silver Jackets program, which is being handled through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, provides a strategy to reduce the risks associated with flooding and other natural hazards.

City senior planner Chad Bunger said the project is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete.

Bunger said the technical advisor group — city and county staff members along with state and federal officials — has met three times already.

This group is working on a flood forecast map, a future conditions model for the basin and a floodplain management plan.

Bunger said a public-action working group that includes Blue River valley residents would provide feedback to the technical group and serve as a conduit.

“These will kind of be our eyes and ears on the ground for this project,” he said.

The working group is expected to have a kickoff meeting in mid-March. A public open house will be in April.

Flint Hills Regional Council executive director Bill Clark also discussed the organizational structure of the regional programs.

The programs in question the Flint Hills Frontiers Project, the Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Flint Hills Economic Development District and the Flint Hills Regional Transit Administration.

He said the council board only governs the Frontiers Project — while providing support for the others.

The meeting also provided a reminder that the first Riley County Board of Health meeting will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday in the county commission chambers.

Katy Oestman, community health educator, said the meeting would offer a brief overview of the county’s annual report and provide an in-depth look into the strategic vision and goals for 2014.

County commission chair Robert Boyd said this is a great opportunity to meet health officials, and he encouraged the public to attend.

The next meeting will be April 17 at the city offices.

USD 383 has a made a formal request to join that meeting to discuss budget deliberations.

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