With $700,000 in grant funds, the city of Comer recently installed the downtown storm water control system, which included curbing, guttering and sidewalks.
Considering the deluge of rain last week, the changes couldn’t have come at a better time.
Comer City Clerk Steve Sorrells said he measured 5.5 inches of rain in six days with the highest one-day total of two inches.
“Those amounts are not significant in relation to what they had in and around Atlanta nor amounts that have given us problems downtown in the past,” said Sorrells. “It was enough, however, to give us an idea as to how the system downtown would mechanically handle the water and it did very good. There were no spots where large puddles of water were left standing after a heavy rain. I did not hear anything from anyone saying a building got water into it from runoff.”
Sorrells said a deluge like the kind experienced in the Atlanta area would likely have caused problems.
“Understand, of course, we are still to be tested and that test will be a subjective opinion and I’m not convinced that we would not have had a lot of problems if we had gotten the 10 to 15 inches of rain in a 24-hour period like they did in the Douglasville area,” said Sorrells. “If we had gotten that we would have had major problems all over the area.”
In a separate downtown improvement project, the city also replaced outdated downtown fire hydrants and water lines. The old hydrants, which dated back to the 1930s or 40s, were upgraded from 2 ½ inch to 5 ¼ inch outlets. The new lines were installed in front of the post office, running down to B&B Tire, to Bluebell Gallery, then up to Center Street and back down to Merchants and Farmers Bank.
“It’s sort of a ‘P’ shape,” said Sorrells of how water lines are laid out.
Sorrells said the new lines and hydrants improve fire protection for the downtown area.
“The concern we’ve had is a fire running through the buildings, and in a situation like that you need a massive amount of water,” said Sorrells. “We’re better able to provide that water if needed now.”
Sorrells and the Comer council have asked the state to allow the city to use leftover state grant funds from the storm water project for the water line upgrades, which the city initially intended to cover with special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) funds. The city has not gotten a response on the request. If the transfer is allowed, Comer could use the SPLOST funds for other city upgrades.