The City of Thomasville seeks citizen input for the initial stages of a Stormwater Master Plan (SWMP). City staff says the master plan will provide the structure to establish a drainage capital improvement program and a policy framework that will protect public safety, infrastructure, and the environment.
“Citizen input is critical in this stage of the Stormwater Master Plan,” said Sherri Cain, Community Engagement Manager. “As a City, we have identified many problematic stormwater areas. Citizen input allows us to gather additional data on areas with flooding, erosion, and water quality issues.”
Cain says that citizens can participate in the process by participating in the SWMP Survey. “We are asking the community to participate in this very detailed survey that allows participants to submit problematic areas on an interactive map along with the details regarding the types of drainage issues, frequency, and source,” said Cain. “Citizens can participate in the survey by visiting Thomasville.org and clicking on the red tab at the top of the page. The survey is also available via social media on the City’s Facebook and Nextdoor pages.” City of Thomasville Utilities’ customers recently received a bill insert with a QR Code directing them to the survey.
Stormwater management planning is necessary to protect public safety and infrastructure while meeting regulatory requirements. “The need for the development of a comprehensive city-wide SWMP was identified as a result of the city’s aging infrastructure, land-use changes from development, and recent extreme rainfall events,” said City Planner Kenny Thompson. “After identifying the need for the SWMP, we pursued and were awarded a Regional Water Plan Seed Grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Division that will partially fund the implementation of the plan.”
Stormwater runoff is the water that flows off of rooftops, driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, roads, and compacted soil when it rains. “The stormwater runoff flows from various sources into the City’s drainage system and eventually into our local creeks and rivers. Stormwater runoff contributes to flooding problems and washes chemicals, debris, sediment, trash, and other pollutants into the City drainage systems and our local surface water bodies,” added Thompson. The City is responsible for the management of the public storm sewer system. Thomasville's stormwater drainage system includes City streets with drainage systems, publicly maintained detention ponds, pipe systems, catch basins, inlets, culverts, and ditches, all of which must be maintained by the City to ensure they function properly when rainfall events occur.
According to Thompson, the City and community will work with the consultant group of Goodwyn Mills Cawood (GMC) to develop the SWMP. “Over the next year, the City will work with the GMC team to gather input, assess stormwater issues across the City, and prioritize capital improvement projects and maintenance needs,” said Thompson. “The GMC team will also work in conjunction with a consultant team from Brandstetter Carroll Inc. that is working on the City’s Parks & Recreation Master Plan. Together, they will look for opportunities where park upgrades and projects can incorporate stormwater amenities that will address flooding and water quality issues, such as regional detention, streambank stabilization, or green infrastructure.”
The City invites citizens to join them at an Interactive Joint Stormwater and Parks & Recreation Master Plan Open House on Monday, March 21st from 4:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the Thomas County Library Flipper Room. “This meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about the community impact of these master plans while providing an opportunity for community input,” said Cain. “Public meetings, focus groups, online surveys are critical to the overall success of these plans. We encourage the public to join us at the Thomas County Public Library located at 201 North Madison Street.”
For more information about the Stormwater Master Plan or to take the survey, please visit www.thomasville.org. or contact the Planning Department at 229-227-7001.