Frustrated residents in Kalamazoo discuss flood recovery with city leaders

Posted at 11:44 PM, Mar 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-07 23:44:33-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich-- Less than two weeks have gone by since Kalamazoo saw some of the worst flooding in the city's history.

Now that things are starting to dry out, the city is looking at the clean-up process and preparing to handle any future floods. On Wednesday, several residents attended a meeting at City Hall to voice their frustrations to local leaders.

“We're straight up in the flood area. So I don’t know what kind of help you are talking about because you’re not helping between Mills and Crosstown. It was hit hard over there," one resident said during the meeting.

"You got people in a home with no heat and no water. It is cold outside,” another woman told leaders.

City leaders tell FOX 17 about 400 properties in the city ended up with water in them. The floods also caused several roadways to shut down.

“What we’re seeing is an increase in these major flooding events. There’s no records of it, but the city has found some stuff about the 1904 flood, and during that we had two square miles of the city covered in flood waters," said James Baker, the director of public services. "In the 2018 flood we just had we had 1.4 square miles covered. So that leads us to believe the flood of 1904 was more significant than the one we saw recently.”

To help with current clean-up efforts, city leaders have Dumpsters placed at five locations near affected areas.

Officials are looking at making some changes to prevent future flooding issues, including using smartphones to help keep people updates on flood watches and warning.  During the meeting, they also discussed the importance of having flood insurance and how there could be an update on zoning requirements in the future. Another idea brought up was doing some dredging at Crosstown Ponds to help alleviate flooding.

Looking at a long-term fix, officials say there is a need for improvements to water flow, adding both the Portage Creek and Kalamazoo River need channel improvements. City leaders tells FOX 17 those projects would cost about $200 and take about 10 years to complete.