City of Wichita, Sedgwick County join forces in flood-reduction effort
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The City of Wichita and Sedgwick County are joining forces to apply for a FEMA grant that could help cover a $40 million project that would reduce flooding in portions of far west Wichita and the surrounding area.
The project consists of building two dams on the Calfskin Creek. Wichita City Council Member Jeff Blubaugh said it could make an immense impact or homeowners in the surrounding area.
It’s the much-needed flood relief plan that portions of west Wichita desperately need. The $40 million plan is in the works with the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County each pitching in $5 million while FEMA’s BRIC (Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities) program grant would cover the remainder of the funds.
In the late 1990s, Cowskin Creek had flooding issues that the city fixed by digging it out more. Now, it’s about fixing Calfskin Creek (which feeds into Cowskin Creek) to alleviate flooding issues.
“The Calfskin, which feeds into that, we continue to have backup issues out here and I think one thing that makes the Calfskin a little bit different is it’s the one spot in Kansas where the water goes from the south to the north, just over here by 135th and 151st (streets west).
The City of Wichita said building two dams on the Calfskin Creek could remove 520 acres and 184 structures out of the current floodplain.
“It will save the homeowners thousands of dollars. It’s going to add more developable land,” Blubaugh said.
Homeowner Blaze Rothlyn, who lives in the floodplain, discussed issues he’s faced with flooding.
“It seems the new developments from other neighborhoods are sending more water to our particular neighborhood,” he said. “We are dealing with more water coming in on lower-than-normal rain seasons, like seasons that are not just incredibly saturating our soil; just normal rains are creating major flooding issues.”
Rothlyn said he has high hopes for the plan to improve the situation.
“Floodway systems develop to where it actually contains the water and sends it out towards the Calfskin rather than send it toward my neighborhood,” he said.
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