Wilton working with consulting firm to alleviate flood issues near schools, fields

WILTON — Following severe damages to the high school’s stadium, athletic fields and new $973,300 track in September, the town has met with repeat partner and consulting firm Stantec to start talks on implementing flood mitigation strategies.

“We toured the entire area,” Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pierce said.

On several occasions this month, the two parties walked the entirety of the area that was severely affected during the local storm effects of Hurricane Ida, including stretches of Catalpa Road to behind the Cider Mill Elementary School. All of these areas sit at elevations above the Veterans Memorial Stadium and can be prone to emitting runoff into the stadium and cause further damages.

Following their tours of the complex, and Pierce’s department acquainting them with the current drainage and the current runoff patterns, Stantec will be asked to conduct hydrological studies to determine the most appropriate mitigation plan.

The depth or intricacy of infrastructure needed is not yet known, Pierce explained. He cited “loose” estimates of pond dredging and added piping as possibilities, but said he could not be certain. Once Stantec completes its bevy of studies, it will report back to the town.

Pierce said he hopes to have a first report back by early December and hopes to squeeze in some of the initial project processes during the holiday season.

The Parks & Rec director also said once a concept and accompanying price are determined by Stantec, he will bring it to the Board of Selectmen for review. If approved, the cost would be factored in immediately during budget season at the top of the new year.

The allocation of funds could come from a variety of different sources. If the project is set to cost over $250,000 or have longer than a 10-year lifespan, the mitigation efforts could become a capital bonded project, Pierce said. That, he explained, will have to wait until after the study.

In addition to the cost of the possible project, Pierce said that the town would have to factor in “some operating costs, cleanup” and some other maintenance measures. That could also mean the town may have to “hire out” to ensure the proper upkeep of all equipment.

Stantec has partnered with the town on numerous projects, including the staidum and the track itself, as well as being the vendor in a potential sports dome complex proposed to house a full-size indoor turf soccer field and at least one regulation basketball court. As the dome’s proposed location is near the high school and Comstock Community Center on School Road, Pierce said Stantec will factor in the effects of the possible dome into this flood mitigation study.

Beyond its familiarity with the town, Pierce lauded Stantec’s ability to conduct these types of hydrological studeis in-house. He said it is a multifaceted company that the town has been happy to work with in the past number of years.

“I remember when we were looking at building the concession stand down at the football field,” Pierce said. “They brought in someone from the New York office who designed concession stands in Madison Square Park. They do everything under the sun.”

And that includes water runoff mitigation, Pierce said.

He is hoping the contracting company returns to the town in December with a plan “to implement so we don’t have these issues.”