EDMOND — Karen Wheeler was relieved to hear Tuesday that the city is getting ready to start work on eliminating flooding in the Willowood housing addition, where she has lived for eight years.
“I was a little irritated,” said Wheeler, 3029 Longsdale Drive. “It has been way too slow.”
Wheeler donated one and a half lots to the city of Edmond a year ago to help get her home and 54 other houses in her neighborhood out of the floodplain.
She wants the work finished so she doesn't have to keep buying flood insurance. She said her mortgage and insurance payment went up $150 because she lives in a flood zone.
Wheeler's home hasn't flooded, because it sits on a hill next door to the Spring Creek tributary that runs through the neighborhood. Her driveway has a steep incline. But her neighbors aren't as fortunate, and high water runs into their homes, she said.
“It has flooded three or four times since I have lived here,” Wheeler said. “Four-by-four trucks couldn't get down the road and they had to turn around. It got bad.”
No one questions the flooding problem in the neighborhood east of Second Street and Coltrane Road. How 55 homes ended up in the floodplain isn't so clear.
City Planner Bob Schiermeyer said floodplain maps in 1983 were not as detailed as today's documents, which clearly show the homes in the floodplain.
“Something wasn't accurate when it was built and I don't know what it was,” said City Engineer Steve Manek. “I have been here 12 years and it has been a long-standing problem.”
Construction in a floodplain isn't allowed, Manek said.
Mayor Charles Lamb said there was no flood insurance before 1973 or 1974.
“We just didn't have the mapping to work with,” Lamb said.
City council members on Monday approved a $3.13 million contract with Crossland Heavy Contractors. A Federal Emergency Management Agency grant will pay for 75 percent of the contract. The city is responsible for 25 percent of the cost, or $716,003.
Manek said the floodplain will be narrowed so the water will stay in the channel, and the concrete bridge under Longsdale Drive will be replaced with a larger structure.
The contractors have 200 calendar days to get the job finished.
“We know there is going to be a lot of interruption and we apologize,” Manek said. “It will take about a half-million dollars just for the bridge. It is a hard project.”
Wheeler just wants the work finished so her flood insurance payments will go away. She also would have the option to sell her home if it didn't sit in a flood zone.
“If we have any extra money, we want to spend it on the kids,” Wheeler said.
Something wasn't accurate when it was built and I don't know what it was. I have been here 12 years and it has been a long-standing problem.”