MSD OKs $5M grassy top for Smoketown basin

 James Bruggers, @jbruggers

3:06 p.m. EDT April 25, 2016

Board voted unanimously in favor of the $4.9 million change; community leaders pleased.

Metropolitan Sewer District board members unanimously approved a new ground-level, parklike top for a massive sewage basin on Monday in the Smoketown neighborhood, even though it will add nearly $5 million to the project's cost.

"The voices of the community have been heard," MSD chairwoman Cyndi Caudill said. She said it balances the needs of the neighborhood with board obligation to be smart with MSD ratepayer's money.

Their vote followed pressure that came first from the neighborhood and later from Mayor Greg Fischer.

The Rev. Bruce Williams of Bates Memorial Church Monday said the board made a "responsible, equitable" decision. "It sends a signal to the rest of the community that Smoketown is rising," he said.

The $43 million project is well under way, with blasting and excavation creating a huge hole in the bedrock between Logan Street and a channelized Beargrass Creek. The basin will hold raw sewage and rain that's now commonly sent into the creek during storms.

The price for the project will now increase $4.9 million to $47.9 million. It's one of the most costly projects in an overall $850 million sewer renovation program launched in 2005 after the state of Kentucky and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency objected to billions of gallons of sewage overflows into local waterways.

At approximately $5 million, the cost of the change amounts to about $20 per MSD customer, before interest on any borrowing is taken into account. Tedder said he could not say how the extra cost would translate into customer's rates.

"There is no simple answer," he said. "This is part of the capital budget, which is made up of all our projects including the very large ones which span over numerous years."

In March, Fischer and MSD Executive Director Tony Parrott backed a plan to eliminate a large, windowless warehouse-style building atop the 200-by-400-foot basin, and instead build the facility at ground level and put a park on top.

Citizens had raised questions of fairness and equity, noting that other new sewage basins planned by MSD are also to be buried. Pressure came from the Smoketown Neighborhood Association, Bates Memorial Church and others, including the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association, Germantown-Paristown Neighborhood Association and the Schnitzelburg Area Community Council.

Theo Edmonds with the Smoketown Neighborhood Association said the vote caps 20 months of work to get MSD to change course.

The basin will get a concrete top covered with soil and vegetation, according to a staff report. There still would be a control building. The project must be completed by the end of next year to stay on a court-approved timeline, and MSD spokesman Steve Tedder said that deadline can still be met. He said no new blasting will be required, but the chamber's concrete walls will be thickened to support the concrete roof.

Photo and Article Courtesy of Branden Klayko, Broken Sidewalk

It’s official! Smoketown’s Logan Street CSO Interceptor, a project by the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) to fix Louisville’s combined sewer overflow (CSO) problem, is going to be built at grade with a park on top. And that’s good news for much more than theSmoketown neighborhood in which the project sits.


April 22, 2016

Louisville’s Metropolitan Sewer District Board is set to vote Monday on whether to approve a new plan for a stormwater storage basin in the city’s Smoketown neighborhood. The new plan — which would place the basin underground — will cost about $4.8 million more than the alternative, according to documents posted Friday by the agency.

Click here to red full article on WFPL.

March 28, 2016  -  The board's vote only means MSD can negotiate over design changes that one board member said will be costly and probably not in the best interest of the Smoketown community.  The Metropolitan Sewer District board on Monday signaled it is willing to invest more money in a Smoketown sewage storage basin that neighborhood leaders have called unsightly and unfair. But officials are not yet quantifying any of the extra costs to be borne by MSD ratepayers, saying they don't know yet.

Board members emerged from a closed session to unanimously vote to have the agency's executive director, Tony Parrott, seek to negotiate contract changes with the 17-million gallon Logan Street basin's builder, Walsh Construction.

The $45 million project is well underway, with blasting and excavation creating a huge hole in the bedrock there between Logan Street and a channelized Beargrass Creek. The basin will hold raw sewage and rain that's now commonly sent into the creek during storms.

Click here to read full article


March 28, 2016:  MSD to explore other options for controversial Smoketown drainage basin

Click here to watch video.

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March 28, 2016:  MSD to explore other options for controversial Smoketown drainage basin

Click here to watch full video on WDRB.

Shelby Park Neighborhood Association, Germantown-Paristown Neighborhood Association and Schnitzelburg Area Community Council Send Letter of Solidarity with Smoketown to MSD

On behalf of the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association, Germantown-Paristown Neighborhood Association and also with the Schnitzelburg Area Community Council and in resolution with the open letter sent to you and your board dated March 18, 2016 from the Smoketown neighborhood and their allies, we are writing to address the above project and request that you reconsider the design of this project toat grade level concept.

Click here to read full letter.

MARCH 25, 2016 - MSD to make Smoketown basin discussion secret

Any board decision on whether to spend more money would be made in public later, MSD official says. 

By Courier-JOurnal, James Bruggers

When the Metropolitan Sewer District meets Monday to discuss whether to proceed with a plan to redesign a controversial $45 million sewage storage basin, it will do so behind closed doors, an agency official said.

At first, though, MSD officials said that any instructions on next steps would be made in closed session and then announced afterward. But after the Courier-Journal questioned that arrangement, MSD's spokesman Steve Tedder said the board would take a public vote on whether to move forward with the plan announced Tuesday by Mayor Greg Fischer. 

Click here to read full article.

The public portion of the meeting is at 1 p.m. at MSD, 700 W. Liberty St.

All communities — including Smoketown — deserve gooddevelopment. And that’s not solely defined by the physical quality of a structure, but how that structure emerges, matures, and functions in a community. 

 Click here to read full article.


Call it a win for the Smoketown neighborhood. Mayor Greg Fischer and Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) Executive Director Tony Parrott have confirmed that the sewer agency will push to redesign the embattled Logan Street CSO Basin as an at-grade facility topped with a community-serving park.

Fischer and Parrott met with leaders from the neighborhood including the Smoketown Neighborhood Association and Reverend Bruce Williams of Bates Memorial Baptist Church ahead of a community meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

Click here to read the full article on Broken Sidewalk

Breaking News from Courier Journal - Our Neighborhood Wins

The Metropolitan Sewer District should go back to the drawing board for its controversial Logan Street sewage storage basin and come up with a design that is similar to other, more natural-looking ones being constructed to curb sewage overflows, Mayor Greg Fischer said Tuesday.

That means a buried 17-million gallon basin with no large warehouse-like building on top - and instead a new park.

"This issue really heated up this last week, and in my view, that's good when a community identifies an issue we need to work on," Fischer said late Tuesday. The announcement followed a meeting with Smoketown neighborhood leaders.

Click here to read full Courier-Journal story.

MARCH 2016

At MSD’s Logan Street CSO Basin redesign meeting, 100 people walk out in protest of unfair treatment

MSD to look at a redesigned Logan Basin cost


De Leon & Primmer to work with Smoketown residents on redesigning the Logan Street CSO Basin

The project, the only one of 12 to be built above ground, has stirred substantial controversy.

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