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District holds emergency meeting to discuss critical land purchase

April 4, 2018
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The Lehigh Acres Municipal District's Board of Commissioners held an emergency meeting to go over the details surrounding a possible critical capital project for district operations on March 23.

Board commissioners heard from staff, which made recommendations and gave some background on what they said is a key land purchase.

"For nearly 10 years, the district has been working on securing land for a Dog Canal to Hendry Canal Connection. This purchase will allow the District to build a canal to connect the Dog Canal (Bedman Creek Basin) with the Hendry Canal (Carlos Waterway Basin)," said District Manager David Lindsay.

The connection would allow the district to divert stormwater from the Bedman Creek outfall to a manmade channel that connects directly to the Caloosahatchee River.

"During Irma we had flooding issues on Bedman Creek; now we will be able to divert water to the other basin when necessary," said Lindsay.

The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the purchase of a 69 +/- acre parcel of land in Hendry County.

According to Lindsay, the timing of this purchase was critical since the district is expecting a grant agreement from NRCS any day to rebuild the S-H-2 water control structure in Hendry County.

"NRCS has agreed to pay to rebuild it, but to make the new system work, we had to move the structure up-stream in our system. Now we have a new site for the weir," said Lindsay.

The new structures location is critical in making the Dog Canal to Hendry Canal Connection. The land purchase will provide more options to divert stormwater in larger storms such as Irma.

"The District is now one step closer to realizing this project," noted David Deetscreek, chairman of the Board.

The capital purchase also ties in with the District's efforts on emergency preparations for the upcoming hurricane season.

The district also held its regularly scheduled board of commissioners meeting on Monday, March 19.

Items on the agenda included the approval on Permit 2018-01, LCEC Overhead Crossing-Sailfish Canal at Meadow Road. This allows LCEC to cross over Sailfish Canal, while staying high enough to avoid any conflict with future LA-MSID operations or maintenance projects.

The board of commissioners also unanimously moved to authorize the chairman to approve the acceptance of Natural Resources Conservation Service grant funds, subject to a staff, legal and engineering review, whenever the funds become available.

Staff provided an overview of the NRCS program which has a very narrow timeline for completion.

According to Assistant District Manager Michael Cook, even though the NRCS funds have not yet been dispersed, a timely approval of receipt of grant funds from the NRCS is critical to meeting the rules outlined in the grant process.

"A maximum of $1,749,619.70 in grant funds based on the actual cost incurred minus our percentage share. These grant funds should pay for a contractor to rebuild the Hendry 2 Water Control Structure and the staff rebuild of the canal bank in Buckingham Park," Cook said.

The board has already approved the AIM contract to design S-H-2.

Under new business, the board of commissioners heard a report from AIM Engineering and Surveying, Inc. which presented its findings from a contracted study they completed for Lee County.

The report recorded Hurricane Irma as producing the most rainfall in one event since the first records were created in the 1930s, and classified Irma as a storm that is seen once every 1000 years.

The next regular meeting of the Lehigh Acres Municipal District's Board of Commissioners is scheduled for Monday, April 16, at 6 p.m. at 601 East County Lane, Lehigh Acres 33936.



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