KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- People who live in the Argentine neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas, say they are thankful the Unified Government is reviewing their flooding cases.
Leaders are investigating the possibility that the damage from the floods may not have been just an act of God. Residents whose homes were destroyed by the flooding say the city needs to be held responsible for the lack of drainage in the area.
“It was either tear everything out after already replacing everything multiple times, which financially I just couldn’t do, or move,” said Tim Curry, a KCK resident.
Curry moved into his new home in KCK after his home flooded four times in the Argentine neighborhood and black mold took over his basement.
“The fact that we were walking around in three, four feet of water, waist deep, stomach deep, flooding our vehicles, getting into our homes, four times in a month? Something wasn’t right there,” added Curry.
Ann Brandau-Murguia, the Unified Government 3rd District Commissioner, asked to be on the agenda of the local neighborhood meeting and met with residents earlier this week.
“I felt like they needed to have some sort of personal response from their elected officials,” Brandau-Murguia said.
She met with the County Administrator and the Public Works Director before that regarding the area near 24th and Strong Avenue.
“They contend that the flooding was primarily a result of a lot of rain happening at one time, in a very short period of time, they also have informed me that the Unified Government failed to open the flood gate that drains the water into the river,” Brandau-Murguia added. “I did ask them if the level of the river was at concerning levels, that they would want to keep the gates closed, and they said no, the level of the river was not at a critical height that required the gates to be closed, or remain closed.”
The county administrator, Doug Bach, said if there’s something they need to take responsibility for, they will, but said there are a lot of factors that determine their decisions.
“You can’t just have a preset — once it hits this level we open the gates, there’s a lot of factors in that,” said Bach.
Curry lived in the lower area of Argentine.
“There has to be a solution to fix what’s happening, for it to flood four times in one month, we knew there was something down there that wasn’t right,” Curry said.
“There are many factors that affected that, one — there are not enough storm sewer inlets in that area to absorb that amount of rain water that quickly,” added Brandau-Murguia, “The second problem is there is an ongoing investigation if whether or not the tree removal done at 42nd and Swartz may have clogged up the drainage system at 42nd and Swartz, and how that impacted the water in that lower area.”
“We went back into some of the other areas and talked to some of the residents and found out what happened in each situation, so there may be one or two houses in one area that may be impacted by runoff that’s coming into their area, and that may have caused flooding there, or it may have been something on their own property, and that’s what we need to go through and make that assessment,” Bach said.
Curry wants to be reimbursed for all the damage, and wants the problem fixed for those who can’t move like he did.
“You could say that there could be some fault on the Unified Government, which they will evaluate on a claim by claim basis,” Brandau-Murguia said. “That doesn’t mean they will accept responsibility for everybody that experienced damage during that flood, but at least they’re willing to investigate, meet with the residents, and see if there’s some responsibility on their part.”
The Unified Government is holding an educational event about the flooding on October 5th. It is open to the public, and will be held at the police south patrol station in the Argentine area from 5:30-7:30 pm.