Kansas City seeks regional plan to stop flooding

KANSAS CITY -- The city council is expected to vote on a resolution this week directing the city manager to begin work on a regional plan for flood control along Indian Creek and the Blue River.

The flooding fix would involve other cities and counties on both sides of the state line.

Supporters of a regional solution say what starts upstream in Kansas flows downstream into Missouri, and rivers and creeks cross many city lines, county lines and state lines.

Sixth district council members Scott Taylor and Kevin McManus believe Kansas City by itself won't be able to solve flooding problems on Indian Creek or the Blue River.

Already, the city is contacting property owners in the flood plain along 103rd Street seeking to buy them out voluntarily, rather than rebuild. A flood mitigation assistance grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency would cover up to 90 percent of the acquisition costs.

"FEMA has a program where they do not want structures rebuilt in flood plains because they know it’s just going to be a cycle," Taylor said. "I think the time has come for some of these properties, to reclaim them and turn it into parkland, which will also help with mitigating some of water as well."

There's also interest in drafting development standards on both sides of the state line so that when you have lots of pavement or rooftops generating runoff, that water is retained on site as much as possible.

Run off from big parking lots and other development in Johnson County, Kansas, is blamed for increasing the flow of water going into Indian Creek.

"We’ve seen a lot of growth and development in south Kansas City, on both the Missouri side and on the Kansas side," McManus said. "That’s something important to remember, that this creek and this river don’t start and stop in Kansas City Missouri. They cross state lines, they cross county lines, they cross city lines."

Twenty years ago, flooding on Turkey Creek and Brush Creek was a big problem.

Years of construction changes, involving bi-state cooperation and millions of federal dollars have now alleviated concerns there.