Residents in Kansas City flood zones rejoice with vote to help city address issue

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Residents in the metro say it's a priority.

Tuesday night's election marks a win for improving flood control in Kansas City, as city leaders take a big step toward addressing areas of the city where floodwaters often rise.

It's a $150M project, and part of a larger $800M infrastructure program, meant to rebuild Kansas City's older amenities. KC Mayor Sly James introduced the huge program in February, and voters approved it on Tuesday.

Brookside is among four neighborhoods that often find themselves underwater when heavy rains fall, like the ones seen in the metro on Tuesday night. City leaders also plan to concentrate on flood control in Westport, Dodson and Swope industrial areas.

As for Brookside, residents and business owners take notice when heavy rainfall comes into the metro. Brookside storekeepers, such as Lea Henry, watched with appreciation on Tuesday, as Kansas City voters spoke out in favor of aiding neighborhoods like hers. Henry, owner at CBD Plus on the Brookside Plaza, says she appreciates voters casting their support to building Kansas City's bedrock.

"It helps small businesses stay in business by not getting water and having to take time off. It also helps our residents with their basements and the streets flooding," Henry said.

Henry, who has managed her homeopathic goods store since October, says she knows other storekeepers suffered great losses during periods of flooding in Brookside.

"Different stores had to be shut down for weeks at a time to get new carpet and sheetrock. All different kinds of things," Henry told FOX 4 News on Wednesday.

The work won't be simple, but 61 percent of voters say it's worth it, registering their support for stronger flood control on Tuesday night.

"We have to build about a 20 million dollar project to connect 55th Street down to Brush Creek," Troy Schulte, Kansas City Manager, told reporters.

Schulte indicated his desire to put this project on a fast-track, beginning with the installation of new drainage pipes in the four hardest hit areas. Schulte said he expects the program to stretch into next year.

"The design work on Brush Creek and Brookside won't be a lot in terms of a huge layout in terms of dollars. We'll try to fit that in with some of those road projects, which have some federal funds beginning in 2018," Schulte said.

Schulte added it will take time to design these projects before the work can begin. Kansas City Mayor Sly James unveiled the program in February, warned that the city can either repair its antiquated infrastructure, or, "we'll hacve to watch it crumble."