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City must move fast to secure flood dollars

Published 11:27am Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The city of Austin will have to move quick to secure a $5 million grant for its North Main Flood Control effort.

Public Works Director Steven Lang told the council Tuesday night the Economic Development Association granted the city permission to advertise for two large-scale flood mitigation projects along the Cedar River near North Main Street last month. Though the city has already begun the advertising process, city officials must award a bid and file a large amount of paperwork with the EDA by Sept. 22 or miss the $5 million grant, which accounts for about half of the flood control effort along North Main Street.

To that end, the city will open the projects for bid on Sept. 17. The council will meet at 8 a.m. Sept. 18 to approve a bid contingent on the EDA’s approval.

“Everything needs to come together like clockwork in order for it to work,” Lang told the council at its work session meeting.

Sept. 22 will mark the three-year period since the EDA first approved the $5 million grant for Austin. It took city officials until spring 2012 to secure properties within the Cedar River flood plain for the project, and the city spent another year negotiation with the Sinclair Gas Company over the environmental pollution at the old Sinclair Gas Station on North Main Street, which the city bought earlier this year.

Lang said once everything is submitted, contractors will likely get to work on the North Main Flood Control projects this fall and winter. The projects are schedule for completion in spring 2015, provided the city receives its grant.

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