FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Fort Wayne neighborhood will be able to breath easier next time there’s a heavy rain now that a flood control project is moving into its second phase.
“We were finally able to put together a plan to protect this area by turning most of this area into green space,” Fort Wayne mayor Tom Henry said.
Tuesday morning Henry, other city officials and people from the Fernwood/Dalevue neighborhood broke ground on the project. The $420,000-project will add an earthen berm and a larger stormwater pipe to keep flood water from the Fairfield Ditch from getting into homes. Last June, the city spent $480,000 to buy six homes at the corner of Fernwood Avenue and Dalevue Drive. They flooded multiple times a year and those homes were torn down over the last few months.
“It was mixed emotions to watch them come down,” Marge Norton, said. “There was happiness and sadness. I felt bad for the people that had to move, but they went through a lot.”
Norton’s lived in her home on Fernwood for 59 years. She’s had flood water in her home twice and has had it come close many more times. But the flooding was much worse for neighbors just a few feet away. Their homes were at a lower elevation and would have water get inside more than once a year.
“[This flood project] has been a long time coming and it’s great to see everything come forward,” she said.
Lisa Allphin lives across the street from Norton.
“It’s nice it’s happening now and hopefully we can sleep a little better when it rains and not have to worry about it,” Allphin said. “If I had owned any of those homes that flooded every year, I’d been ready to go.”
The clay and dirt to build the berm should start arriving in the next few weeks. The whole project should be done by the fall.
“We have three rivers in our city and we know there’s going to be flooding and every time a particular area is hit. We need to do all we can to improve the safety of that area and this is another step in that direction,” Henry said.