Concord’s Kimball Jenkins Estate seeks fix to flooding issue
Rain run-off spills from I-393 to the driveway at Kimball Jenkins.during a recent storm. Kimball Jenkins personnel say that the driveway is impassable during storms.
Rain run-off spills from Bouton Street, across North Main Street and onto the Kimball Jenkins Estate during a recent storm. Kimball Jenkins personnel say that the driveway is impassable during storms.
Debris fills the driveway of the Kimball Jenkins Estate following a recent storm. Kimball Jenkins personnel say that the driveway is impassable during storms.
When it rains, the bridge off Interstate 393 becomes a waterfall into the Kimball-Jenkins Estate.
With a heavy rain, the estate’s parking lot fills with water and debris. Rip rap, or stones used to prevent erosion, move into the middle of the parking lot. Sometimes there’s so much pressure on the storm drain that water shoots into the air like a geyser, said Ryan Linehan, the estate’s executive director.
It’s not a new problem, Linehan said, but the number of heavy rainstorms have increased in the past few years.
“It cascades like Niagara Falls over 393 onto the estate grounds,” said Lorrie Carey, one of the estate’s trustees.
Last week, Carey asked the city of Concord for help. But the water drains onto the property from both state and city roads, and City Manager Tom Aspell said he hopes officials can find a joint solution.
“We’re going to look and see what it would take to try and participate together,” he said.
Aspell said city and state officials will meet next week to discuss the problem.
Water in the parking lot is as deep as 2 feet when it drains from North Main Street and I-393, Linehan said.
The water recedes from the parking lot on its own, he said, but damage and debris remain after a storm.
“What it does do is impede any traffic flow to our parking area until I get a loader in and clean it up,” Linehan said. “And it does take a loader to clean up.”
The estate is home to the Kimball-Jenkins School of Art and is also used to host events like weddings. When the parking lot is filled with water, visitors have to park on North Main Street, which Linehan said “also turns into a river.” Once a woman parked across the street and came inside asking for a bucket to scoop water out of her car.
Aspell said the problem isn’t new; state officials worked on it several years ago.
Linehan said the state added more cement on I-393 last year, but that fix didn’t stop the waterfall from the bridge onto the estate.
“It’s always been a battle of whose problem it is, because in the course of 20 feet you have three different people’s property,” he said
A solution would require money from the city and state governments, Aspell said.
“So we’ve asked (the state) to try to look at any funding they have available,” he said, and the city will also find money for a collaborative solution.
Aspell said he told representatives for the Kimball-Jenkins Estate that he hopes to return to them with a plan.
Carey, one of the trustees, said she learned of the flooding problem last year when she tripped over a pile of debris in the parking lot. Linehan has taken care of the damage on his own for years, but she started paying closer attention to the problem.
She contacted officials after the heavy rain storms July 4 last year, and she said the state brought extra rip rap. After heavy rains this spring, she sent a photo to Concord city councilors.
The floods have eroded the parking lot, Linehan said. Not every rainfall causes flooding, but it’s been a problem with many rainy days this spring, and several storms last summer.
“What it takes is rain for a period of time and then a downpour,” he said. “So the system’s already, you know, stressed, and then we get a downpour and it just can’t handle it. It used to happen every couple years, and then last year it happened three times.”