$1.8M drainage project tackles Kokomo Speedway flooding

Feb. 7—A $1.8 million infrastructure project bringing sewer and stormwater lines to a stretch of Davis Road will, in part, help alleviate flooding and standing water issues at and around Kokomo Speedway.

The Kokomo Board of Public Works last week approved a $1,819,665 bid from West Lafayette-based Atlas Excavating Inc. for the "Davis Road Stormwater and Sewer Extension." Work is expected to begin in the near future.

The project includes installing an urban drainage system — 3,285 feet of storm sewer and 2,280 feet of sanitary sewer lines — from North Wabash Avenue to Kokomo Speedway.

The project will, in part, be paid with federal grant money. The city of Kokomo received a $1.2 million federal grant from the Economic Development Administration. The grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act. Local funds from wastewater and stormwater revenue are earmarked to cover the remaining cost.

The area surrounding the Kokomo Speedway has been plagued by flooding and standing water issues for years, particularly in the venue's parking area and infield.

Because of that, the Speedway has to occasionally cancel races, costing the business valuable revenue, Reece O'Connor, one of the Kokomo Speedway owners, said.

The venue only holds some 14 events a year, so losing one event means potentially losing out on 7% of annual revenue if the event can't be rescheduled.

While rainfall the day of can't be avoided, O'Connor said races scheduled a few days after large rainfall events will hopefully be unaffected after the project is complete.

"If we lose one of those nights due to wet grounds where we can't get things dried out, it puts us out of business," O'Connor said. "We're hoping that this will help us lose less events due to the rain."

The Speedway itself will be making its own changes to how it handles flood mitigation. The racetrack's infield currently drains into a retention pond. O'Connor said the plan is to eliminate the retention pond and drain the infield into the new infrastructure being built.

The project will also give surrounding property owners who are currently on a septic system the ability to connect to the sewer system if they so choose. The city is not forcing anybody to do so, though.

Tyler Juranovich can be reached at 765-454-8577, by email at tyler.juranovich@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @tylerjuranovich.