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Repairs aim to end flooding in front of Valverde Park
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LATHROP – The sidewalk drainage repairs in front of Valverde Park, the Community Center and Senior Center that will start the week of July 12 will not have any major impact on vehicle and foot traffic to these public areas, according to city officials.

“They won’t really be impacted. The only impacts will be on one of the entrances for a short period of time while they install a small pipe connected into the (drainage) system that’s already installed. There will be one (day) or two days disruption of the entrance there. In terms of open trench for the pipes, there will be traffic control during the day for a couple of weeks until they get that done,” said Public Works Director Steve Salvatore.

The project was approved by the City Council last week by approving a resolution that directed the city manager to ink a contract with Martin General Engineering, Inc. to repair the sidewalk on the west side of Fifth Street in front of Valverde Park, the Community Center and Senior Center and get rid of the perennial flooding problem at this site. Martin General Engineering offered the “lowest responsible bid” of $40,540.20 for the project. With the contingency amount of $2,990.80 to cover unexpected expenses, the total amount for the project is $43,531 which makes it a “fairly small project,” Salvatore said.

The drainage repairs is a community improvement project funded by the Community Development Block Grant, which is federal money funneled through San Joaquin County, with the city matching that amount.

Unlike new residential areas in the city, the Historic Old Town District – mainly around Fifth, Sixth and Seventh streets between Lathrop Road and Louise Avenue – does not have a centralized drainage system to keep the areas free from flooding during the wet season. A few years ago, the council discussed the feasibility of a possible storm drain system for the flood-prone historic district. With the help of Transportation Development Act money, an engineering study was done with two alternatives presented to the council. However, the $10M-plus money that the project would need was way more money than the city could afford “so we decided just to forgo that project for now,” Salvatore said.

There are two entrances to Valverde Park – the one to the north close to the Community Center, and the one to the south near the Senior Center. There is also a third access to the park, but only for pedestrians and not wide enough for vehicles, located at Thomsen Road between two houses. This entrance deposits park visitors straight into the Tafoya Ballpark area.

Work on the drainage system is estimated to take about three weeks with the starting date taking place during the week of July 12.