Developers are working to solve two of McPherson's biggest issues on the same land south of town — housing and drainage.

Now that Phase I is near completion, Barnstormers Phase II and Premier Subdivision is underway.

"This will open up about 80 lots for McPherson, which is a big thing for Mac and will continue to grow," said Nick Gregory, city administrator.

Longstanding drainage issues in McPherson have plagued the area south of Avenue A, so over the past two years the city commission has taken steps to prevent further issues on the development.

"We have drainage issues throughout the city, and I'm not being critical about that. There's times it wasn't looked at close enough in the past and it never gets better, they are very expensive issues," said Jeff Woodward, director of Public Works.

The project has been estimated to cost $1.9 million for the infrastructure which includes streets, water, sewer, sanitary sewer and storm sewers.

The city has hired two contractors to take care of the issue, Strawn Contracting located in Hutchinson and Vontz Construction LLC out of McPherson.

"This is the first time we have worked with two developers. We typically work with one. This project is a little more tedious, and we want it done right the first time," Gregory said.

The city is helping the contractors to alleviate the cost by chipping in $100,000.

"A lot of communities will throw in that to help," Gregory explained. "When it comes down to it, the city's cost in the whole thing is our contribution to the storm water. If it's done right the first time, we won't have to spend a lot of money correcting it in the future."

"Early on, the commission offered $100,000 to the developers to help them along because there's an unbelievable amount of money that goes into it. It's going to yield benefits forever and will drain better from day one and for a long time to come," Woodward added.

The developers themselves put 35 percent down for this lengthy process and the remaining 65 percent will be financed through specials, Gregory added.

The project consists of expanding the pond on south Stearman street in order to help streets drain better if flooding occurs. Woodward noted ditches down Piper and Eastlinks are now cut for drainage and will be filled and replaced with pipe in future phases while the ditch south of Paradise Lane over to the detention pond will remain as a ditch. The alley between Eastlinks Court and Genesis are streets that have been already completed in the first phase.

"We're expanding the pond to be able to cover drainage so that all the water in the Barnstormers development is going to go down south in the ditches so no water floods in the streets and goes into the pond," Gregory explained.

"Vontz wanted to fill the pond in there at Avenue A and Maxwell so the bottom portion had to be enlarge. It was going to have to be enlarge anyway for that area, but it required a comprehensive drainage plan and it had to be enlarge in order to get rid of tension on top of the pond," Woodward said.

Streets that are affected by this project are Genesis Drive, Robin Drive and Eastlinks.

Woodward noted there was a slow week last week, but all of the sanitary sewer is in and most of the storm water system is in and is expected to be finished next week.

For more information, call Public Works at 620-245-2545 or call the city at 620-241-3340.

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