After a brief pause for consideration of community views, planning for the Oxford Point Drainage Project continues.

After a brief pause for consideration of community views, planning for the Oxford Point Drainage Project continues.
The project will involve the deepening and widening of the already existing drainage channel running from Hess Park at the corner of Northview Avenue and Canterbury Street to First Street near CertainTeed.
The path runs behind houses along the railroad tracks, and goes slightly north of Prairie View at 1102 Hospital Drive.
City Public Works Director Jeff Woodward said the $1 million project is intended to be done in three phases.
“Phase one will be the main channel from Northview to First Street,” Woodward said. “Phase two will involve building a two-cell detention pond at Hess Park. Phase three will involve building a linear detention channel along CertainTeed.”
Woodward said the Oxford Point Project will mean 85 houses will no longer be designated in the flood plain.
“We’re moving forward,” Woodward said, “but we took a step back because we wanted to really take a look at how this project was going to effect residents. We’d have to take out trees out of the drainage way, and over the years, there are people who have planted trees in the drainage easement. Some people have even built in it over the years, and there was an ordinance that adjacent landowners would be required to keep their area of the easement clean.”
Gary Renfro, a McPherson resident who lives across the street from Hess Park on Canturbury street, said that while he’d be sad to see many trees go, he wouldn’t feel the same about water backup.
“I’d like to see trees,” Renfro said, “but if people intentionally planted them there they may just have to relocate them. I’ll hate to see them go, but I’d like to see Northview fixed so there isn’t water backup. I’ve watched water come up to the south edge of the trees in my yard.”
Bobby Ferbert, who lives near the project path on Oxford Drive, said she’d be glad when the project was done.
“This summer the water in our back yard was up to nearly our back porch steps,” Ferbert said. “It went in our basement window. The sump pump couldn’t keep up, it was running so fast. We just finished laying new carpet down there right before Thanksgiving. The insurance didn’t cover it, so it was all out-of-pocket.”
Ferbert said people shouldn’t have planted or built in the easement in the first place.
“We have a shed on skids,” Ferbert said, “and we built it that way because it was on the easement.”
Karen Nitshe, who lives across the street from Hess Park, said she didn’t care what was done in that area as long as it was an improvement.
“I’d like to see this park improved,” Nitshe said. “I think it’s nice if it gives some beauty, and it’d be nice to have water out here for ducks and other birds. The project doesn’t bother me so long as they improve it, and as long as it’s fixed up nicer than what we have now.”
Woodward said the design phase is 90 percent complete.
“Landowners have the option to remove their tree or property from the area,” Woodward said, “or the contractor will be forced to remove it. Items like sheds will be relocated elsewhere on the landowner’s property while they’re working, not at the landowner’s direction.”
Woodward said the city was looking at a potential construction start date in March or April. Phase one is projected to take five months.