Chassell seeking flooding funding

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Resident Rod Liimatainen addresses the Chassell Township Board about flooding issues during its meeting Wednesday night.

CHASSELL TOWNSHIP — As rain continued to fall Wednesday night, Chassell Township residents heard updates on the township’s efforts to get grant money to address problem flooding areas.

The township is seeking a grant through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which would provide 75 percent of the funds. The township would be responsible for a 25 percent match.

Remedies can’t come soon enough for several audience members, who asked the board to address recurring problems at their homes from water from flooded roads and clogged culverts.

Resident Rod Liimatainen said a practical plan needs to be developed with better drainage to the lake.

“It’s still a very shallow bed for that creek, so the water runs over,” he said. “I don’t know why that hasn’t been ditched, to clean out the rock and sand and silt and everything that’s making it almost a level area of flood plain above Fourth Street there.”

Officials from NRCS were scheduled to visit the township Thursday to finish their assessment ahead of a Oct. 17 deadline for the grant application. They’re hoping to have materials by Monday to the township, which would respond and prioritize the work, said engineer Chris Holmes. The work would be done in the 2019 construction season.

“They believe that we have some of the right criteria that’s going to meet the requirements,” said Supervisor David Mattson. “They appear to really want to help us to get this money.”

Top areas identified by the township included Fourth Street, Second Street, Massie Road and Creamery Road.

One audience member questioned why the township had a recreation millage on the ballot rather than money for drainage remedies. Mattson said the millage is part of recreation efforts that go back years.

“At some point, if we think it’s really necessary as a community, we could put a drainage millage on the ballot,” he said.

If grant funds don’t come through, the township will have to slowly address problems on its own, Mattson said. He cited the township’s work to bring Hamar Creek under control, which took the better part of a decade.

“If we can’t find funding anyplace else, I think we’re just going to take them one by one, worst one first, and do what we can,” he said. “Just clean them out, try to support the banks, try to come up with some kind of active plan.”