November 13, 2020 -  A $200,000 grant from the Great Lakes Commission will be used for flood protection and drainage improvements for the Colonial Heritage neighborhood and improve the Trier Ditch watershed. The project includes improvements to ditch channel that will provide additional flood storage and water quality benefits to the Trier Ditch, construction of a bioswale, wetland expansion and enhancements, and a walking trail in the area, just off Hessen Cassel Road.  

The Commission awarded grants totaling $1.55 million, split between nine communities, including Fort Wayne, to reduce the runoff of sediment, nutrients, and other pollutants into the Great Lakes. The award is through the Great Lakes Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Program. Each year, the program provides competitive grants to local, state and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations to install erosion and nutrient control practices in the Great Lakes basin. The program supports projects not typically funded by other federal cost-share programs, allowing it to invest in innovative and unique approaches. 

City Utilities secured an additional $150,000 grant funding for this project from the Department of Natural Resources Lake and River Enhancement program. The remaining $420,000 project investment will come from the City Utilities’ Stormwater funds. The $770,000 project will begin construction in March of 2021. 

“Our team is always looking for ways to stretch our funding and is aggressively applying for grants to aid water quality and protect neighborhoods from floodwater,” said Anne Marie Smrchek, P.E., stormwater manager, City Utilities. “These are planned projects, but when we can match them to grant money, it allows us to move up the timelines of other projects.”

This project is part of a three-phase improvement along the Hessen Cassel corridor to reduce flooding and standing water.  In all, more than $6 million is going toward stormwater upgrades to protect 13 neighborhoods along the corridor.  Phases 1&2 also include new sidewalks on Hessen Cassel where none existed before.