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Residents ask Providence city to remove retention pond

November 18th, 2013 Posted in Opinion

By Manda Perkins

PROVIDENCE – A petition with 98 signatures was presented to the City Council, asking for removal of a city-owned retention pond near the Hampshire Estates subdivision. Several homeowners addressed the council, concerned about the danger it imposed to their homes and children.

According to city administrator Skarlet Bankhead, the pond was built to be used as a secondary water system to water the lawns of several homes in the subdivision and Hampshire Park. But homeowners said the liabilities far outweigh the benefits.

“We feel that the pond had good potential, but safety is too big a price to put on a little bit of water savings,” said Mike Hansen.

Hansen said his home sits 60 feet from the canal that runs next to the retention pond; his property was flooded when the pond overflowed due to moss growth in October. Using estimates from the company that built it, Hansen said seven gallons of water are pushed through the canal every second, and if he hadn’t been home when the flooding started, the damage would have been far worse.

Hansen and his neighbors said the pond was a safety hazard for children, and cited two instances of children getting past the fence and into the pond area. When signing the petition, homeowners in the area were asked to list the number of children in their households; they reported 175.

“The safety of our children and our families is more important than this pond,” said Chelsea Pulley, who lives in the subdivision. “So if there’s a way to still get secondary water without having to have this pond, we would appreciate someone looking into that, so that we don’t have to worry not only for our homes, but for our families’ safety.”

The city’s public works director, Randy Eck, said the use of secondary water isn’t an opportunity to be taken lightly; although the pumps to utilize the pond are not currently in place, they could be very soon.

“I don’t think there’s anybody here that doesn’t think if we could have a secondary system for every system in the city, it would be a great thing,” said Eck. “It was an opportunity presented to the city and the public works department that I fully supported and I still do. I think we can make good use of it.”

In other business,  the council repealed with a 3-1 vote the decision they made at the Oct. 22 meeting regarding sidewalks in two- and three-lot subdivisions. “Have we done the right thing for our citizens and for our city?” asked Councilman Bill Bagley, who requested the reconsideration. The now-rescinded ordinance stated that if property is within 600 feet of a school, church or park, the developer would need to put in a sidewalk.

Councilman Don Calderwood said after driving the streets of the south and west edges of the city, he agrees that the issue is due for more discussion. Several people in attendance did not agree.

“We’ve beat the sidewalk to death for the last year and a half in Planning and Zoning,” said Jeff Baldwin, who was elected to serve on the city council next year. “We’ve done due diligence in our research to recommend our findings to the council.”

The council did not entertain a motion to address the topic in their next meeting. Bankhead said this will give the Planning and Zoning Commission time to work on a new recommendation.


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