Flooding to the north brings back scary memories for some Indian Creek homeowners

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The flooding concerns are north of the metro for now, but the mere mention of high water evokes panic in some parts of Kansas City.

The view now, near 101st Terrace and Wornall Road, is much different than that summer almost two years back — when the water wouldn’t stop.

“You’re sitting there very helpless. We were kind of on an island,” Gary Nelson said. “There was water all around us and really no place to go. It rained pretty consistently for about three or four days in a row, seemed like night and day.”

Nelson and his wife, Debbie Smith, didn’t get water in their home, but they were ready.

“We’d actually packed up everything. I’d packed up everything, getting ready to move,” Nelson said. “The water came around and ran back into these two houses over here, went around there.”

Gesturing down his quiet Kansas City street, he pointed toward the back of a shopping center.

“If you see the white building way down there, that back of that’s Coach’s and the shopping mall there.”

On July 27, 2017, there was a dramatic rescue at Coach’s Bar and Grill as flood waters took over the area. Firefighters saved two owners after rising waters trapped them in the ceiling. That was just weeks after another co-owner, Mike Darby, was murdered on Indian Creek Trail.

Smith worked at Coach’s for more than three decades. She’s still mourning Darby and the loss of her career.

“I’d just lost my boss, and I lost my job that I’d had for 32 years. It was very devastating, and I still relive it every day,” she said.

The doors to Coach’s are closed for good; so are the doors to the two homes on the end of Gary and Debbie’s street. They said it’s an unsightly reminder of life before the creek rose.

“It’s been boarded up twice, both of them,” Nelson said. “They have to come out and re-board them because people will pull them down.”

The couple has bags packed now, just in case the waters rise, but they’re OK for now.

“Indian Creek seems to be staying down right now, even with all the snow that we had,” Nelson said. “Now it’s the time of year we’ll have one eye open. We’ll be watching it very closely this week to see how it gets.”

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