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Goshen buys property for $30,000 to avoid flood risks

NOW: Goshen buys property for $30,000 to avoid flood risks


GOSHEN, Ind. - The city of Goshen is trying to spend $30,000 to buy a large piece of land situated next to Rock Run Creek. The purpose? To make sure no one else develops on that land because of the flood risks.

The record-setting floods in February 2018 left much of the city of Goshen underwater.

Rock Run Creek was just one place affected, waters spilling over its banks and covering a widespread area around the stream. It’s a drastic difference to what it looks like now.

Jason Kauffman, the Stormwater Coordinator for the city tells me it’s not uncommon for this 3 ½ acre strip of creek front land to become flooded. That’s why when it was put up for sale, the city’s stormwater division, for the first time ever, wanted to buy the property.

“A couple months ago the engineering team received a phone call from somebody interested in developing this parcel and asked what steps would need to be taken,” Kauffman said.

He said that call raised red flags.

“They’d basically bringing in soil to lift the building out of the floodway, displacing the water that would typically flown there, would no longer be there, it would have to go somewhere else,” he said.

And Kauffman said that just can’t happen.

“The area that’s currently in the floodway, if that is developed, it would no longer be the floodway so that water would be going downstream and affecting properties downstream,” he said.

Neighbors in the area say they worry about a repeat of 2018.

“All my stuff gets ruined. I have stuff downstairs. If it gets wet you have to buy more stuff. Waste of money,” Andrea Nazario, who lives right next to the creek, said.

She said she was never told her home could flood until it was too late.

“The guy that came and checked the house, cause you know how they do check-ups if something is damaged and such, he said ‘do you know the basement gets flooded?’ and I said ‘no.’ he said ‘well you have to put your stuff up 3 feet off the floor because the water comes in,” she said.

When asked about her thoughts on what the city is planning for this vacant property, she said, “it’s good in a way cause if they are trying to prevent people from buying properties and getting damage. That’s a waste of money.”

On Monday the Board of Public Works and Safety and Stormwater Board approved moving forward with the purchase and Tuesday night at the City Council meeting they also approved it.

Kauffman said they hope to close on the deal by the end of the month.

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Dustin 71 days ago
Goshen has had a long tradition of preserving floodplain land that today is enjoyed at Roger's Park, Shanklin Park, and Abshire Park. In more recent years, the City's Redevelopment Commission partnered with the Elkhart County Drainage Board and businesses to develop the two-stage ditch along Horn Ditch between College Avenue and Kercher Road. This ditch improvement has been hugely successful in reducing flooding and property damage, and the City continues to look for flood reduction opportunities. The purchase of the land on Monroe Street continues the City's commitment to minimize flood impacts for the common good of the community. Each year the City uses resources to react to some level of flooding, and the purchase of the Monroe Street property is an opportunity to be proactive. - Dustin Sailor, P.E., Director of Public Works and Utilities for the Goshen community
KirkMiller 87 days ago
How about doing something that deters flooding? Goshen refuses to dredge Goshen Dam which is filling with silt. Trees and debris fill the river. There is a vast area between the canal and river behind Shanklin Park that could be cleaned out and help reduce flooding. But instead, they waste money on bad road projects and the killing of Main Street. They need to get their heads out of their backsides and do the right thing for the community!
SteveWestlake 88 days ago
Really? Buying flood plane land to keep the public from buying it seems just a bit over the limit for government. If ya can't get insurance, how would you get a loan to build! But this is Goshen Indiana!
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