By Kate Vogel
Mason Times staff writer
The City of Mason has finished construction on the storm drain at the Mason public library, 145 W Ash St. Problems with the storm drain had caused damage to basement after flooding for the second time since 2005.
“You could say that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Sheryl Bass, manager of the Capital Area District Library Mason branch. “The basement flooding was an ongoing problem … The water had encroached in the basement and then there was black mold. People starting noticing an odor … We were closed for about two weeks.”
The proposal to allow city staff to repair the storm drain was passed in the Oct. 17 Mason City Council meeting.
Martin Colburn, Mason City administrator, said, “It needed to be done in order to keep water from out of the basement because through the years there has been damage.”
The damage was caused by rainwater pooling by the library garage and streaming down the wall into the basement.
“It flooded in August,” Bass said. “I discovered it one morning after it had rained. I turned on a light in the basement and stepped into about 6 inches of water. I had to bail out the whole basement and then dry the carpet in our activity rooms. The next night it flooded again and in the middle of the night I squeegeed the basement.
The City of Mason corrected the problem by diverting the storm drain away from the parking lot.
“The water was overwhelming the existing drain.” Bass said. “To correct the problem, they made it so the storm drain runs directly to the catch-basin in the street and then goes directly to the watershed.”
The reparation was done “internally” by a public works crew and cost around $12,000, said David Haywood, the Zoning and Development Department director.
“What we’ve done is cut out a loop and divert it to Ash Street,” Haywood said. “Now it’s a shorter distance to travel and a shorter pipe. The (previous) storm drain that was serving the property was undersized. This was a natural fix that will preserve the integrity of the building in the long run.”
Bass said that the repairs on the storm drain, “actually shut our front doors down so we had no handicapped access or access with strollers. We opened our side-door but it cut our visits for a straight week and a half. People didn’t want to come in as much, but although it was inconvenient for our patrons it had to be done.”
After the storm drain was fixed, the sidewalk in front of the library was re-cemented. Now that the construction is finished, patrons can use the front door to the library.
“We are thrilled that the city corrected the problem,” Bass said. “They were very easy to work with through the process kept us informed”