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Genoa, D-424 lawsuit ends with an agreement

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

GENOA – A lawsuit that has cost Genoa taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars ended with an agreement between the city and Genoa-Kingston School District 424 addressing flooding at the elementary school and surrounding houses.

After nearly a full year of negotiations, school district and city officials have agreed to work together to finish a detention pond. It will help prevent flooding that has occurred to homes on Hadsall Street and the corner of Hill Street and Sycamore Road, where the elementary school is located.

Under the agreement, the city and district will complete the final grading of the detention pond already in place, finish installing the restricter for the pond and regrade a swale along Route 23.

“I’m glad that this is resolved and that at the end of the day, we are accomplishing what we set out to accomplish,” Genoa Mayor Todd Walker said.

In January, the city sued the school district, claiming the district failed to finish a stormwater detention project that was agreed upon by both parties. The city’s lawsuit also claimed the district had threatened city workers with criminal trespassing charges if they tried to work on an easement the city said is within its jurisdiction.

Joe Burgess, superintendent for the school district, said negotiations with Aldermen Mark Vicary and James Stevenson helped end the lawsuit. Unfortunately, Burgess said the process probably cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars, but he believes the city and school district are ready to move forward with a positive relationship.

Both sides were able to keep some costs down while legal proceedings slowed over the summer. The two sides opted to meet outside of court instead.

“I have to thank the two council members that stepped forward and took a leadership role,” Burgess said. “That’s the relationship we expect moving forward.”

Burgess said crews plan on finishing grading before winter break. A mild winter could allow the whole project to be finished for spring.

“We’re working together,” he said. “If the weather cooperates like it has been, you never know.”

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