City officials compiled a list of questions from residents concerned about a drainage project, and plan to mail answers to affected property owners soon.
Despite lingering questions, the city still plans to push ahead with a $1.2 million drainage project to prevent flooding in a neighborhood west of Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Tuesday night, Lawrence city commissioners informally endorsed plans to move ahead with the project, which will be concentrated in a block bordered by Second, Third, Michigan and Arkansas streets.
The city's own Stormwater Master Plan rates flooding problems in the area as the city's worst.
The project calls for burying a reinforced concrete pipe between the backyards of two dozen homes, including two homes the city plans to buy and either demolish or remove.
The underground pipe also will have a drainage ditch on top, to allow even the heaviest rains -- up to 9 inches an hour -- to flow away from homes without pouring into nearby garages, basements and living rooms.
"I think it's a great plan. It provides for the maximum amount of stormwater runoff," Commissioner Erv Hodges said.
But several area residents -- including several who are suing the city over flood damage -- came to city hall Tuesday night with pointed questions.
Although nobody questioned whether the project would work, residents wanted to make sure the project wouldn't cut too far into their yards, move utility poles closer to their homes, unduly increase maintenance demands, pose safety threats for children or limit rebuilding efforts.
Sandy Lingle, who owns a rental home at 207 Ark., said she was concerned about the 25-foot "easement" the city plans to buy in her backyard. She listened as City Manager Mike Wildgen said it would be the property owners' responsibility to mow each easement area, in which fences, trees or anything else -- except perhaps a flower garden -- would be prohibited.
"If it's no good to us, and we can't use it, why do we have to pay taxes on it?" she said. "Why should we even own it?"
- City commission briefs. Page 4B.