The city is starting a three-year project along Woodlawn Lake Park to address flooding and create safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists.
The Woodlawn and Jefferson Neighborhoods are especially prone to flooding, and the potential for a repeat of flood events like 1998 and 2002 have residents like Henrietta Lagrange concerned.
"I live right in front, so I have mega-pictures," Lagrange said in reference to previous flooding. "I’m there, sometimes, sleepless nights trying to see how high the water is going to get."
Flooding around Woodlawn Lake Park should be remedied in three years. $15 million of 2007 bond money is being used to widen the Seeling Channel near Woodlawn Avenue and Wilson Boulev
"The channel improvements were actually the driving force of this project," said David Poulido with the city’s capital improvement department. "The bridge reconstruction -- that came from a parks project that we inherited because the design of the channel dictated the design of the bridges; it was easier for us just to incorporate those projects into this one."
The existing Tobin-Josephine Bridge allows for pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle traffic, and Jefferson Neighborhood Association President Ted Guerra noted that it's unsafe for those on foot.
"This guy right here walking around," Guerra said, pointing to a jogger crossing the bridge. "He’s hitting traffic. There’s a sidewalk on one side but on the other side there’s no sidewalk so you have people walking on the street [with] cars coming."
That bridge will be reconstructed to be pedestrian only and a new bridge for vehicles will be build 300 feet away. Two other bridges will also be built to cross the channel.
Phase I of this project will end at Wilson, and Phase II -- using 2012 bond money -- will take the channel widening to St. Cloud. The second phase is still in the planning stages.