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

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Peru Skate Park 03 A world-class skate park PERU — For the last two weeks, workers with the Peru Parks Department have been shooing away people riding the curves and catching some air at the soon-to-be-open skate park in Peru.But that’s not a bad thing. It’s actually a pretty good sign.Althoug

    August 2, 2014 4 Photos

  • Fair opens with first beer sales since '46 INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Fair kicked off its 17-day run on Friday with a menu that includes alcohol for the first time in nearly 70 years, although there are limits on how much fairgoers can drink.A state law that took effect in July opened t

    August 2, 2014

  • 5 face heroin charges Five people face charges of possession and dealing heroin after two separate investigations.At 12:45 p.m. Thursday, officers served a search warrant at a residence in the 1600 block of South Union Street and arrested Bennavi Green on charges of deali

    August 2, 2014

  • 1943 Globe 1 'Kokomo Kid' was not a Kokomo 'first' As with many of the City of Firsts’ inventions, No. 13 on the list — the life raft and lifeboat made by the Globe American Stove Co. in Kokomo during World War II — is questionable.Nicknamed the “Kokomo Kid,” the Kokomo-made life raft of 1943 is refe

    August 2, 2014 2 Photos

  • Coroner searching for relatives of deceased man The Howard County Coroner’s office is trying to find a relative of Kenneth S. Crockett, who passed away Monday at his residence. Crockett , 74, died of natural causes at his residence in the 100 block of West Markland Avenue, Howard County Coroner Ja

    August 1, 2014

  • Bus crash 1 8-1-14 UPDATE: Maconaquah bus crashes on first day of school w/VIDEO

    A Maconaquah school bus transporting elementary students collided with a Jeep Liberty at the intersection of 800 South and U.S. 31 Friday morning on the corporation's first day of fall classes for the 2014-15 academic calendar.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Miami County struggles through computer shutdown PERU (AP) — A northern Indiana prosecutor has harshly criticized other officials in his county for not adequately dealing with computer problems that have effectively brought some business to a halt. Prosecutor Bruce Embrey said Miami County governme

    August 1, 2014

  • Waterford Place looks to 11 senior living duplexes to campus More senior living options could be on the way in Kokomo.Waterford Place Health Campus, located in the 800 block of St. Joseph Drive, is looking to expand with 11 new senior duplexes after receiving approval from the Kokomo Plan Commission’s plat com

    August 1, 2014

  • Trial dates moved in Wagoner clinic drug case Trial dates for seven of the eight people charged in the Wagoner Clinic prescription drug case have been moved to Oct. 3.Several of the suspects – including Marilyn Wagoner, the wife of Donald Wagoner, the former head of the clinics – were set to sta

    August 1, 2014

  • NWS - Summer Fest 02 Russiaville Summer Fest starts Friday RUSSIAVILLE — You think you can knock a baseball out of the park? There's a contest for that. If you love to sing, there's an activity for that. If you're afraid to sing but know the words to your favorite song, there's an activity for that, too. The

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction

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.