Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 28, 2013

Flood-prone homes under scrutiny

After 2003 flood there were 151 such properties still standing.

On summer nights, Matt and Heather Pagan can sit out on the back porch of their Park Avenue home and listen to the summer concert series at Foster Park, which lies just on the other side of the Wildcat Creek.

“It’s just a perfect little spot,” Matt said. “We have probably one of the biggest backyards you can have in the city. We’re near just about everything.”

April 19, the Pagan’s wood-framed home was inundated by floodwaters, as the Wildcat rose to a record height.

Now, like others living in the flood-prone areas of Kokomo, Pagan doesn’t know if he’ll be able to stay.

Across Park Avenue, Heather Donnelly was loading possessions into the back of a pickup truck, moving things into storage as she, her boyfriend and her children are staying with relatives. Their rental is uninhabitable, she said.

With moving a likelihood, Donnelly is in a quandary. The three-bedroom rental on Park was roomy and economical.

“It took us a while to find this place,” she said. “To find something the size we need, it’s $600-plus, and we can’t pay $600-plus.”

The last time the city did a survey, which was after the 2003 flood, there were 151 homes — including rental properties — still standing in flood-prone areas throughout the city.

They’re mostly concentrated along the Wildcat: along Park Avenue, in the river bottom area east along South Union Street, and out near Waterworks Park at Carter and Elizabeth streets.

Eight years ago, the city estimated they’d need $6.8 million to purchase and tear down all of those properties.

A Federal Emergency Management Agency grant helped the city tear down seven or eight homes in 2005, and before that, another FEMA grant allowed the city to remove 11 homes in 1999-2000.

And this year, Howard County officials are using state and federal grants to tear down 10 flood-damaged homes along the Wildcat east of Kokomo.

But it took the county 10 years to complete that process, and local officials know it’s a long slog to arrange more flood-mitigation funding.

This past week, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said the city is looking at different options for dealing with the problem.

“The ultimate goal is to create a long-term control plan and mitigate what’s in the floodway,” Goodnight said.

In the months ahead, city officials will work on that process, aided by an engineering study commissioned late last year which helped better define the flood-prone areas.

The city has removed two dams from the Wildcat in recent years, improving stream flow. But to get Park Avenue to keep from flooding, the city will likely need to increase water storage in some other area.

How the city will manage that task has yet to be determined.

“We’re in the process of evaluating that,” Goodnight said. “Obviously we need to increase capacity in and around the creek area, so when [floodwaters] come up, fewer people are impacted.”

The remaining homes in the Carter/Murden street area are what’s left after the city purchased and demolished homes there in 1999-2000 and in 2005. It’s the most flood-prone area in the entire city.

When the city was doing flood-mitigation demolitions there in 2005, city officials said some of the homes had been flooded five times in the previous seven years.

Even if the city isn’t yet ready to purchase more of the homes in that area, it’s likely some of the remaining residents will have to move.

Brian Cook, a member of Grace United Methodist Church, was out Friday lending a hand to flood victims. Cook said many of the Carter/Murden residents are struggling to get by, day to day.

“Most of the people there are just renting, and some of their homes have been condemned. They’re trying to find places to live, and that’s a big crunch on the system right now,” Cook said.

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Sobriety checkpoints planned for today in Kokomo The Howard County Sheriff Department announced deputies will conduct a multi-jurisdictional enforcement checkpoint targeting impaired drivers in Howard County today. Officers from the Kokomo Police Department and troopers from the Indiana State Polic

    August 22, 2014

  • Miami Co. jobless rate falls to 6-year low PERU – The unemployment rate in Miami County dropped to a six-year low in July but, despite the decrease, the county still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.Miami County’s unemployment rate slid from 7.2 percent in June to 6.9 pe

    August 22, 2014

  • NWS KT 082114 Debra Cook award LS Ivy Tech honors Debra Cook with Alumni Achievement Award Debra Cook had made up her mind to earn a master’s degree, though she knew it would be challenging while raising three children and working full-time.Ivy Tech Community College provided her the first step in achieving that goal, and earlier this mont

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • VFW commander injured in crash The post commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1152 suffered head and other injuries when he crashed his motorcycle Wednesday evening on East Lincoln Road.A Kokomo Police Department accident report stated Kenneth A. Fisher, 67, was riding a

    August 22, 2014

  • Lordeman + Ohio Accident 02 Woman seriously injured in Ohio Street crash A 42-year-old woman suffered multiple injuries Thursday afternoon after the van she was driving was struck head-on by a Jeep on North Ohio Street.Kokomo police at the scene said Holly DeWitt, 42, suffered multiple fractures to her arms and legs and h

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • City-Line Trolley 04 Riders see numerous benefits to City-Line Trolleys As Sharon Sanchez waits for the Red Line trolley to take her to work at Steak N’ Shake on South Reed Road, she can’t imagine her life without the busing system. Sanchez rides the bus to work from downtown to the south part of town and to events at Ch

    August 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • City-Line Trolley 03 City Line Trolley ridership up 31 percent Any questions about the demand for public transportation in Kokomo have been answered since the city expanded its routes for the City Line Trolley last July. The bus service has seen its passenger totals increase 31 percent since it added three new l

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Crash One injured in two-vehicle crash on Ohio Street

    A 42-year-old woman suffered multiple injuries Thursday afternoon after the van she was driving was struck head-on by a Jeep on North Ohio Street.

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Robert Lee Rev. Robert A. Lee’s candidacy once again challenged For the second time, Rev. Robert A. Lee’s candidacy for Center Township Trustee is being challenged in what Howard County Democratic Chair David Tharp has described as an act of “singling out” the retired pastor. Lee’s candidacy for township trustee

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • IU grad wins $100,000 technology startup prize BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A recent Indiana University graduate has won a $100,000 technology prize that will finance his new startup company devoted to improving hearing aids and prosthetics. Gregory Mattes graduated this year from IU's Kelley School

    August 21, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists Ferguson Teachers Training to Deal With Trauma Jon Hamm on the Unrest in Ferguson Tit for Tat? McDonald's Shuttered in Moscow Life on the Professional Video Game Circuit TX Gov Perry in Washington: 'Confident' in Case Hospital Releases Two Missionaries Who Had Ebola Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle NYC Doctor-in-chief Seeks Community Approach Indonesian Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters Raw: Shots Fired in Liberian Shantytown DOJ, Bank of America Reach Record Settlement Raw: Cubavision Airs Images of Fidel Castro Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries