Springfield City Council Shown Jordan Creek Daylighting Plan

Springfield City Council was given a presentation during their Tuesday lunch meeting on a plan to bring Jordan Creek into the light.

The city’s Principal Stormwater Engineer, Chris Dunnaway, talked to Council about the history of Jordan Creek and how the concept of daylighting the creek began in the mid-90s and was developed in the “Vision 20/20” process. He said that in the early 2000s, the plan was refined for the Jordan Valley Concept Plan.

Dunnaway mentioned the history of flooding in the downtown area as businesses and residents began to build their homes along the Jordan Creek as the city grew. He noted that “there was no FEMA, there were no flood plain maps” and so the residents dealt with significantly flooding problems.

In the 1930s, the city declared Jordan Creek “an impediment to progress” and began the process of burying the creek and using box culverts.

Dunnaway noted a book that cited flooding from the Creek about every seven years during the foundation of the city and that in recent years the Creek has caused downtown flooding in about the same time frame.

The presentation showed video footage of 2016 flooding, noting that the volume and speed of the water was enough to move vehicles and collapse structures; it was cited as a public safety concern.

Several bridges over Jordan Creek are considered to be under capacity and are being replaced as the bridge’s life cycles end and need to be replaced.

Dunnaway during the renewal of the level property tax “infrastructure improvements to minimize flooding and restore the natural environment around Jordan Creek” was part of what had been approved by voters, and that $6.775 million had been budgeted for the project.

Phase One of the project would be located between Booneville Avenue to Main Avenue. Jordan Creek would return to what Dunnaway called a “naturalized channel”, greenway space would be created where a multi-use path would be created. He also said that space could be created that would allow for events to be held in that area.

Dunnaway says the project will reduce flooding and increase water quality for the city; increase recreation and greenway space; and also create opportunity for economic development.

Dunnaway noted during the presentation that when “the entire project” is completed, not just phase one, they anticipate the downtown flood plain would be significantly reduced but will not be completely eliminated.

He said that the city still needs to obtain some properties along the proposed corridor and that under the current pace they could begin construction near the end of 2021.

“I think this is exactly where we need to head,” Mayor McClure said about the project.

Councilman Andrew Lear questioned Dunnaway about the regional detention basins that would be significant in the controlling of flood water. Dunnaway said that the second of the five is scheduled to be built some time in the next year, but that three are still unfunded, and that this project will do nothing to move forward the building of the currently unfunded basins.

Councilman Ollis brought up the city’s “Quality of Place” plan and consider that when developing the design of the area. City Manager Jason Gage said there will be public meetings to discuss the layout of the area.

Dunnaway also said that the city will be working with Missouri State over the parking lots that will be lost in the construction of the new green space under the project.

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