MERRIAM, Kan. — Newly secured federal funding could soon help pull downtown Merriam out of a floodplain. 

The federal spending bill approved Thursday night includes more than $15.7 million that will be spent on projects in the Third District of Kansas, including $500,000 for the Upper Turkey Creek Flood Risk Management project. 

“My job is to advocate for the Third District in Washington, and I’m proud to announce many of our communities’ priorities are going to benefit from federal funding—from fixing our flood infrastructure to training the next generation of our workforce to enhancing our world-class cancer treatment center,” Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kan., said. 

“We appreciate Rep. Davids’ great efforts to get the additional Upper Turkey Creek funding included in the omnibus funding bill,” Mayor Bob Pape said.

“With this additional funding, the City can continue its efforts with the Army Corp of Engineers to mitigate future flooding in downtown Merriam, which not only protects private property and increases safety, but will also spur additional investment.”    

Turkey Creek is part of a larger system that stretches into Kansas City, Kansas and flows into the Kansas River. 

The Upper Turkey Creek Flood Risk Management project includes recommendations to build levees and floodwalls to protect downtown Merriam. The plan outlines goals to build roughly 3,380 feet of levee approximately six feet in height and 6,820 feet of floodwall up to approximately 6.5 feet in height along the banks of the creek. 

Hundreds of homes and more than 80 businesses in downtown Merriam are expected to benefit from the flood control project. 

Merriam City Administrator Chris Engel said the project will protect residents and could help support new business growth in Merriam.

“We are grateful to Rep. Davids for bringing attention to this project, which has been a priority for Merriam for years and is really critical to our local economy,” Engel said.

“The risk of flooding prevents reinvestment by existing businesses, has driven away potential new business interest in our downtown area, and threatens residents’ homes. Rep. Davids’ federal funding request and its subsequent approval in the House and Senate will kickstart efforts to move downtown Merriam out of the floodplain entirely, improving safety and attracting development.”

Six of Davids’ eight funding requests for local projects were approved and include: 

  • $1 million to purchase a VIS/Quantum X2 Ultra-High-Resolution Imaging Station for The University of Kansas Cancer Center.
  • $500,000 to begin removal of Downtown Merriam from the floodplain through the Upper Turkey Creek Flood Risk Management Project.
  • $4.8 million purchase of a Backup Engine Generator at WaterOne’s Ralph Wyss Pumping Station.
  • $4 million to perform needed maintenance on critical infrastructure on the Fairfax Jersey Creek Upper Levee.
  • $1.9 million to purchase equipment for the Automation Engineering Technology Program at Kansas City Kansas Community College.
  • $3.4 million total across three economic development and green space initiatives in Kansas City, KS.

“Our team worked in tandem with local officials and conducted detailed reviews of each proposal to ensure they met strong standards with a high return on investment. I’ve long fought for responsible budget policies to protect taxpayers, like pay-as-you-go rules, and these investments maintain that commitment to fiscal responsibility while making a difference for Kansas,” Davids said.