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Well-Established Relationship Strengthens Bond for Providing Municipal Engineering Services

Rural communities have infrastructure and planning needs similar to their larger urban counterparts — roadways that need repairing, neighborhoods that need development guidance, and storm sewers that need to be upgraded, just to name a few. But what these municipalities often lack are the resources needed to achieve the necessary Level of Service (LOS). As a multi-disciplinary engineering firm, Snyder & Associates is well-positioned to help these communities manage their public works and development needs.

Snyder & Associates has served as the principal municipal engineering and planning firm for the City of Atlantic for 30 years. Located in southwest Iowa, this busy regional hub in Cass County holds a special place in Snyder & Associates history as the site of the company’s first satellite office — established in 1990.

Our firm’s long-standing approach to municipal engineering has involved assigning each client with a single point of contact, backed by a support staff of over 200 professionals working behind the scenes. This standard provides a level of professionalism that has allowed the City of Atlantic (and others like it) to tackle large-scale projects, while at the same time providing the flexibility to manage the town’s everyday needs.

Among the services that Snyder & Associates provides for the City of Atlantic are community and infrastructure planning, site development and land survey, subdivision and platting review, pavement management, park and trail design, capital improvement plan (CIP) facilitation, and construction inspection, just to name a few. But perhaps most important, Snyder & Associates brings extensive resources to the table that help the city locate and secure the funding they need to make their project concepts reality.

City Engineer Services that Add Value to Your Municipal Staff

The Snyder & Associates team members assigned to work with the Atlantic community have forged long-term relationships with city staff throughout this three-decade partnership. These relationships have created continuity and provide us with the insight to develop a better understanding of the goals and direction of the community and their leaders. With this knowledge, we’re better able to define the vision for creating plans that match the city’s needs. As John Lund, Atlantic City Administrator put it, “Snyder & Associates has an office in our community and have spent decades building a reputation and relationship with the Atlantic City Council.”

Our team of professionals can handle projects of any size. Backed by planners, engineers, designers, landscape architects, surveyors, and construction managers, the city engineer handles all day-to-day issues, with the ability to quickly consult experts in various fields when necessary.

“Atlantic is a mid-sized community. We have many infrastructure needs, but they don’t always reach a volume to create an economy of scale to justify an engineer on staff. We also have a diverse array of needs that one engineer could simply not be expected to grasp all the disciplines and nuances of certain areas.” — John Lund, City Administrator

Among the varied tasks the city engineer manages are:

  • Land development reviews
  • Communication with regulatory agencies
  • Grants and funding procurement research
  • Consultation with city staff on project progress
  • Regular attendance of city council meetings to provide updates
  • Conducting frequent status meetings with stakeholders during projects
  • General engineering guidance

Also, our firm has spearheaded residential concept planning efforts for the city. These plans developed unique residential neighborhood layouts for numerous parcels of land within the city limits, including concept drawings, infrastructure requirements, and cost estimates. These plans were created to provide a “road map” for future housing development around the city.

Quality of Life Improvements by way of Proper Street Planning

More than a decade ago, the citizens of Atlantic made their voices heard that city street improvement needed to take priority. Poor roadway conditions throughout the community were a considerable nuisance to residents — leading to vehicle damages in the form of premature wear-and-tear caused by substandard conditions.

The Snyder & Associates team led a street inventory and condition survey to document and rank the streets. This initial inventory and survey recorded all facets of the city streets, including; lengths and widths, type of surfacing, current condition, last improvement date, and proposed improvements. A ranking system was then developed to more accurately determine the costs associated with maintaining the desired LOS. The street inventory schedule is regularly updated to reflect the most current conditions and future improvement costs. It’s also utilized by the city to aid in the selection of streets to be improved. In the last decade, the City of Atlantic has improved over 60% of the streets in town to an acceptable LOS.

Improved Drainage through Bull Creek Enhancements & Tunnel Improvements

The interior of the Bull Creek Tunnel was in need of attention (left photo). New grouting and spray lining will sustain the tunnel for the foreseeable future (right photo).

A major stormwater collector in the City of Atlantic is Bull Creek which runs through town. Due to periodic flooding issues, the creek has necessitated considerable attention over the years. A portion of the creek flows beneath downtown buildings through an old limestone arch tunnel that had substantial deterioration. Because of the tremendous expense that would be involved in replacing the tunnel, our team regularly recommends upgrades — point repairs, grouting, and spray lining — to help the city keep the drainage way operational until such time that additional funds can be raised to reroute the creek.

The Bull Creek area has also seen extensive erosion issues over time. With a seasoned team of in-house environmental scientists, we’ve performed numerous stream channel assessments to address these problems. These included property line assessments, topographic survey, wetland and stream 404 permitting, and FEMA mapping. Additionally, the hydraulic capacity of the creek was reviewed to study the possibility of enclosing a portion of the creek in storm sewer piping.

Community Beautification Projects & Schildberg Recreation Area Connector Trails

Other projects that Snyder & Associates have been involved with for the city have contributed directly to the aesthetic appeal of the community. One notable project was the design of wayfinding and entry signage to be used throughout the community. The signage improvements were part of the 2016 City of Atlantic Beautification Plan that strives to set the city apart as a unique and inviting place for residents and visitors. Our professionals were tasked with developing this entire project, from initial design to coordination with Iowa DOT for signage location.

Forms are in place in preparation for pouring a new branch of the Schildberg Recreation Area and AMU Well Field Trail network.

On the north side of Atlantic is the Schildberg Recreation Area. Built around an old quarry, this park has evolved into a crown jewel destination area for the community and the surrounding area. For many years, Snyder & Associates has been involved in the design and implementation of numerous amenities for the facility. This has included several miles of paved multi-use trails throughout and connecting to the park, a new playground, campground, and shelter houses. Also, the layout and survey work involved with creating a dog park added another attraction to draw visitors to this destination spot.

With a full-time staff of professionals located less than two miles from City Hall, the city leaders know they have a responsive and trusted partner who will be there when they need them — providing sound advice and thorough designs. As Mr. Lund stated, “[Partnering with Snyder & Associates]…..was a no-brainer. The service levels are extraordinarily high. The convenience and quality of service are at a point where we have not seen any reason to consider other firms.”