Council Approves Design, Bid Award for Dalbey Spillway

Dalbey Lake Spillway
The spillway at Dalbey Lake.

The spillway at the Gillette Fishing Lake at Dalbey Park may be getting a facelift soon.

The Gillette City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve entering into a Professional Services Agreement with WWC Engineering for design and bidding services associated with the Dalbey Park Emergency Spillway Improvements Project.

Initially, WWC will conduct a survey to identify flooding problems that occur particularly during the spring when snowmelt and heavy precipitation can overwhelm the spillway, according to City of Gillette Communications Manager Geno Palazzari.

The total cost for the study is $236,000, of which $177,000 or 75% will be paid for via a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant. The remaining $59,000 or 25% will be covered by funds from the city’s portion of the Optional 1% Sales Tax fund.

The FEMA grant was made available to the city due to concerns about the spillway causing serious flood damage to the homes and neighborhoods located nearby.

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“When the spillway was designed there weren’t any homes on the east side of Dalbey Park and there wasn’t an east entrance to the park, so there was no issue,” Palazzari said Thursday.

City Engineer Joe Schoen said Friday that the project is necessary to prevent what he called a “perfect storm” situation, wherein a heavy snowfall is followed by warmer weather igniting severe rains to overwhelm the spillway. The potential for a significant flooding incident could threaten homes on the east side of the lake, though Schoen said they’ve never flooded to that extent before.

“I’ve seen water in the streets though, which is why this project is important,” Schoen said.

Gillette Fishing Lake was built in 1949 and, according to Schoen, has been dredged several times, but no significant work has ever been done to the spillway.

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WWC will study drainage above and below the lake and submit plans and documents. The design phase of the project is expected to take about a year, after which time other grants can be sought to cover the cost of the work.