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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Waterfall of concerns: Recent flooding worries residents

  • Recent heavy rainfall has renewed flooding issues for several Shawnee residents.
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  • Recent heavy rainfall has renewed flooding issues for several Shawnee residents.
    James Graham, a resident of Severn Street for nearly 19 years, believes the city is to blame for his inability to use 2125 square feet of his home.
    “The city changed the drainage a year after I moved in,” he said, adding he has experienced 20 major floods and, for 16 years, attempted to team with the city for a solution.
    City Engineer John Krywicki said work was done to extend the curb and gutter on nearby Morgan Street, but that was in 1994, two years before Graham purchased his home.
    “He has drainage issues with the house, but they’ve always been there, since the 1920s,” Krywicki said, noting the house had been built decades ago at the low point of a drainage basin. “We have not done anything to cause his problem.”
    Despite Graham’s discrepancy with the city’s record and timeframe of project work, the two parties joined at one point to survey the situation.
    “It’d cost about $2 million to take care of a drainage issue to keep water out of his garage,” Krywicki detailed.
    Graham is not alone is his quest for a city solution for flooding concerns.
    Yvone Cox detailed a record of property and safety mishaps and tragedies, occurring near East Main Street and South Harrison Avenue, to city commissioners.
    “Because we live on the wrong side of our city, do lives and value of property seem meaningless, compared to the rich or better homes? We pay taxes. We vote,” she said, adding handicapped children live in the affected area and flood warning signs should be installed.
    Cox demanded the flooding issue be solved now, not 10 to 20 years from now.
    “I’ve lived in my house almost 30 years. I’m tired of it. My neighbors are tired of it,” she said.
    Cox said she consulted with an outside engineering source who determined the problem had a “simple fix.” Krywicki explained simplicity is not necessarily the primary factor.
    “It could be a simple fix, but it’s an expensive fix,” he said, also expressing a solution would entail intricate planning. “You don’t want to transport the flood problem from one area to another area.”
    Krywicki stated three citizens who addressed city commission, including Cox, live in a designated FEMA floodplain. Ted Russ is one of those citizens.
    “After I bought it, I found out there was a flooding problem,” he said of his home. “I had two feet of water go through my yard, and through my back room of my house, and through the garage.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Mayor Wes Mainord thanked Shawnee citizens for reminding commission of the issue and said his heart went out to those affected.
    “We need to hear things like this. Hopefully we can come up with a solution to help in some way,” he said. “You’ve got the attention of several of us.”
    Krywicki said flooding issues should have been fully disclosed to homeowners prior to purchases, but expressed the city was exploring remedies.
    “Due to citizens’ concerns, demonstrated at the last [city commission] meeting, the city engineering department is looking into solutions to mitigate the flood issues in that area,” he said. “We’ll present preliminary findings at the next city commission meeting.”
    The next meeting is Aug. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Commission Chambers at City Hall.
     
     

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