Jul 14, 2006

Toledo Flooded...Again

Toledo streets flooded Left: Harvest at Ariel in West Toledo; photo by historymike

(Toledo, OH) Heavy rains and thunderstorms roared through Northwest Ohio this afternoon, and residents in Toledo are beginning to lose count of the number of times basements and streets have flooded.

In my neighborhood Harvest Lane - which has never been known as a street prone to flooding in the past - has become impassable on at least four occasions this year.

Harvest is in the middle of a major drainage improvement project that was completed last summer on Tifft Ditch. Since that time, however, my neighborhood has become much more prone to flooding.

Getting a sewer or sanitation engineer to admit that their plans are responsible for the new backups, of course, would be impossible, but in my unscientific poll of Harvest Lane residents there is a consensus that SOMETHING is different this year.

While the rain was heavy today, we have received less than two inches of precipitation - hardly the "100-year storm" that city officials like to blame for flooding. Frankly, this wasn't even a 1-year storm, and yet Harvest is impassable in four separate locations as I write.

Dear Toledo politicians: with $450 million to play with in the Waterways Initiative, we expect that you fix our sewers.


Suss & The Family Stone said...

Looks like I picked the right week to travel to Alabama for business.

(How many times can you say that?)

Anonymous said...

Your foul-mouthed mayor prayed with the victims. How sweet.

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brian said...

We fought the good fight up on Crawford Street last night. The mayor arrived at about noon yesterday to oversee the removal of three willow trees from Shantee Creek while other departments made and placed sandbags to form a dike.

From a sociological standpoint, the transformation of Crawford St was the most fascinating thing I ever saw. We walked the neighborhood on Wednesday and the mayor took a verbal beating from a couple people, as did every city official with him.

When we showed up on Friday, our effort to build a dike out of sand bags was met with derision and catcalls. However, when the rain began to fall during the first wave of the storm, Carty grabbed a shovel and ordered the other city officials (including myself) to grab a bag or shovel and start filling.

Neighbors watched us for awhile, most skeptical that the mayor was just waiting for cameras to show up. But after the first storm, the mayor kept working and no cameras showed up. A couple neighbors joined us as the water was rising and we were battling to get the whole dike system assembled.

I went on the news at 5:30 PM and appealed for volunteers. At that time, we had about 10 volunteers working.

By 6:30, we had about 25 volunteers working. After the final wave of storms, many, many more showed up. Residents from several blocks away showed up to help. By 9:30, there were more than 100 volunteers working.

About 10:00, it was clear that the dike at Shantee creek had held -- as had the quickly assembled dikes we put up on either side of the street. No basement on Crawford St. got wet last night.

From a civic pride standpoint, it was the most profound thing I've ever been a part of.

An anonymous poster has ridiculed the mayor for leading us in prayer. For those with little or no faith, you would not understand. For me and most that were there, the mayor's simple prayer was inspiring.

I talked to almost every resident of that block of Crawford St. that night plus many others. Several said that they still were not Carty supporters, but they sure respected what he had come out to do that evening. He actually won over several of his former detractors.

I'm sure it will be the subject of ridicule by Fred LeFebvre and the gang at WSPD, but I'm proud of what we did last night and I know the people of Crawford St. are grateful the mayor chose to come to their neigborhood and work rather than attend an "information sharing" meeting.

Hooda Thunkit said...

It should be obvious by now that the storm water plans for Crawford and many other areas of Toledo require drastic reworking.

Cleaning Shantee Creek is only the very beginning of what must be done to permanently fix these problems.

Ultimately, massive underground reservoirs and pumping/lift stations are likely to be part of the answer.

These "100-year storms" seem to be more frequent than one would think, judging from the title...

Kate said...

I think that it was good for the Mayor to go out and see what his residents were dealing with first hand. A flood like this is a mind boggling experience. The fact that he stopped to gather people and ask God to make the rain stop let's me know that he finally had a firm grasp on the situation and how much these people have suffered. Good.

People need not be perfect to be loved by God. And that's a wonderful thing. The only difference between believers and non-believers has nothing to do with the amount of mistakes that are made - only that God forgives.

Even the Mayor :-) Better late than never Mr. Mayor.