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Gallagher Creek residents get
relief, Bonita repairs put on hold

By Staff
LOSING GROUND Meridian resident Tom Harley said Wednesday that his back yard has shrunk by six feet due to erosion caused by Gallagher Creek. He said he hopes a new grant will allow the city to continue repair work along the creek. Photo by Kyle Carter/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Sept. 25, 2003
Tom Harley is "cautiously optimistic" about the city of Meridian's plans to repair a section of Gallagher Creek behind his home, work that could help solve erosion problems associated with the drainage canal.
Harley, who lives at 1801 39th Place, will get the help thanks to a change in plans for a $500,000 federal grant the city received this past year for drainage repairs.
Monty Jackson, the city's public works director, did not return phone calls and was unavailable for comment on Wednesday. Mayor John Robert Smith said design work was already under way for the project and work could begin soon.
The repairs will come after city officials recently learned the money, which was earmarked by Congress for drainage improvements in Meridian, could not be used solely to fix a leak in the dam at Bonita's lower lake.
The lake, a main attraction at Bonita Lakes Park, has become overgrown with patches of weeds since being drained last year to search for the leak.
City officials later announced the $500,000 grant would help fund the repairs.
But the state's Natural Resources Conservation Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the federal agency to which the money flows, decided there was a greater need to repair Gallagher Creek because it directly affected property owners.
The money that is left over will then fund repairs at Bonita Lakes, which is one of the city's main drainage control dams.
Smith said most of the money will be used for "slope protection" repairs for parts of Gallagher Creek near Highland Park, where previous work ended.
Earlier this year, Harley and a group of other residents who live along Gallagher Creek complained to city officials of the erosion problems. They asked for help in eliminating the erosion and conditions they described as a snake- and rat-infested hazard.
At the time, city officials said they didn't have the money to make the repairs.
Harley said he's been losing parts of his two acres of property for the past few years. He said he's glad the NRCS made sure the drainage creek was repaired first.