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Dunham St. improvement project funded, started

Using flood mitigation funds, a series of improvement options will soon be presented for the site where the Dunham Street Mobile Home Park once stood
It will be awhile before any sign of improvements are visible, but the process of developing the area alongside Ochoco Creek between Striker Field and the fire hall has begun.
   What is presently an open field was, until the Flood of '98, a mobile home park. When that disaster struck, dumping approximately seven inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period, Ochoco Creek flooded and homes in the park were destroyed.
   That rainfall, in a country that typically gets only 11 inches per year, caused extensive damage. Ochoco Reservoir happened to be full at the time and Ochoco Creek was not able to handle the excess water. Flood recovery and mitigation efforts by the city and county have been an ongoing operation ever since.
   Using various grants from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Community Development Block Grant Program and the Disaster Recovery Initiative (DRI), most of the recovery effort has been completed. A few projects, including renovation of the Dunham Street Mobile Home Park area is yet to be done.
   The city, using grant funds, purchased the land in August, 1999. Now, using part of the $1.5 million DRI grant, the improvement project, which is expected to take about $400,000 of that grant, is slowly getting started.
   Clay Moorhead, hired as the consultant to oversee the acquisition of the various recovery grants, expects the entire project to be completed next summer. The process to get from here to there, he reported, has begun.
   That process will start with the hiring of an engineering firm to develop alternatives from which to chose the improvements people want. After collecting information, performing field investigations and studies, the engineers will develop three or four design options. These will then be presented to the public for consideration.
   When designing the options, Moorhead pointed out, there are certain conditions that must be met. These conditions have to satisfy stream restoration and flood mitigation objectives, as well as other objectives listed in the city's comprehensive plan and the Action Plan for Flood Recovery.
   Maintaining the right-of-way to allow Fourth Street to continue along the southern edge of the property will be a factor, as will regrading the central portion of the site to allow for greater seasonal water-storage capacity.
   "This area can be an asset for the community," Moorhead said. "It can be a park-like setting, possibly with recreational values, since it is right next to the softball field."
   After the evaluation process to select the preferred alternative, complete with engineering and design services, actual construction contracts will be let. That should take place early next spring.