The Fort Atkinson City Council on Tuesday approved the costs associated with a drainage project at Koshkonong Estates development, south of Montclair Place.
Meeting in regular session, the council approved a rate for the project of $3,200 per day up to a total cost of $62,400.
The costs will be reimbursed by the developer, said city engineer Andy Selle.
The development’s construction has been slow, Selle said, due to a number of water problems — most immediately an aquifer that was punctured during excavation of a basement in 2016.
The punctured aquifer caused a “pond” to form on that lot and those of the neighboring homes, Selle said.
“This has been slowing development,” Selle said. “It’s appropriate for the city to step in because it impacts existing homes.”
The drainage project calls for installing a system that diverts the water away from the aquifer and the nearby houses, Selle said. However, he cautioned the council that this step might not be guaranteed to work.
He said the best thing to do when a project is impacted by water is to remove the water, but that isn’t possible in this case. He added that the type of soil in this area made the project even more difficult.
It’s been tough going for the city to find a contractor willing to step in and help, Selle said, because of the high likelihood the project won’t be successful.
“Who is willing to try something, knowing it may fail? That’s where the city is coming in,” Selle said.
While this drainage project is a stop-gap measure for this immediate problem, there are other water issues that make development on these properties difficult: high groundwater conditions, lots located in the 100-year floodplain and the presence of wetlands.
City Manager Matt Trebatoski said there are other plans in the works.
“We’re attempting to work with the developer to solve the whole issue,” Trebatoski said. “But this is a more immediate problem.”
This part of the city is an important area for development as it is near where Crown of Life Christian Academy plans to build its new school building. It also comes as the city is desperate for new housing developments in the wake of a shortage of units of all types, single-family and multi-family residences at a variety of price points.
Selle said that if this effort doesn’t work, he will come back to the council to offer other solutions.