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The Journal Gazette

Council OKs buying homes in flood-prone neighborhood

Bigger sewer in works for other homes in area

An ordinance approved by City Council brought relief to Ferndale neighborhood homeowner Machelle McHaney on Tuesday evening.

City Council approved the $480,250 purchase of six homes in the neighborhood near Ardmore and Lower Huntington roads in Waynedale that has been plagued with flooding problems. The homes are at the lowest point of the neighborhood, near Fernwood Avenue and Dalevue Drive. The Fairfield Ditch is nearby.

McHaney bought her house at 3512 Dalevue Drive in 1995 and it has flooded three times. She is staying in only the upstairs area of her home because the downstairs is uninhabitable, she said Tuesday. McHaney and her two dogs share one bedroom and a bathroom.

“We have no kitchen and no means of refrigeration,” she said.

Heavy rain in April caused flash flooding so severe that some residents in the neighborhood had to be evacuated by boat. After the flooding, Mayor Tom Henry walked the neighborhood and promised residents he would work on a buyout plan. The process has moved forward quickly, and the Board of Public Works approved the purchase of the homes June 26 after meetings with residents, appraisals and paperwork.

“Now maybe I can get a full night’s sleep,” McHaney said of the almost constant fear of flooding in her home.

McHaney said she and her husband plan to move to Kokomo after closing on the home.

The buyouts were voluntary, and all the homes will be demolished this year. A larger-capacity stormwater pipe will be installed to protect remaining homes in the area. The city has been working closely with the Army Corp of Engineers but opted to find a local solution to the severe flooding instead of waiting.

Republican Councilman Mitch Harper, who represents the area, said the buyouts and stormwater pipe installation won’t solve all of the problems for the area near Fairfield Ditch but are a positive move for the neighborhood’s remaining residents. “Things have moved fairly quickly, and I’m gratified and the residents are gratified,” he said.

sarah.janssen@jg.net

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