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South Bend parks learning from historic floods

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Flooding in South Bend caused by last month’s historic rainfall has officials adjusting their plans for the city’s riverfront parks.

“This was above and beyond anything we’ve ever seen in the city of south bend so it’s going to make us rethink a few of those plans,” said Aaron Perri, the director of Venue, Parks & Arts. “Usually you build designed to 100 year flood standards. The thought would be that a 500 year standard would be something that we wouldn’t have to think about in the near future.”

February’s historic rainfall might be a thing of the past, but officials are concerned it might have an impact on parks in South Bend’s futures.

“Once the water recedes, we’ll be able to get in there and investigate the area to see what kind of damage has been done long term,” said Perri.

Riverside Drive along Leeper Park has finally resurfaced after being submerged for weeks.

And the grounds to the once-barricaded Pinhook Park are back open.

But after learning the St. Joseph River wasn’t the cleanest during the storm, you might want to wait to run to the playground again.

“Even, again, if it looks dry and safe, we’re saying stay off those areas so we can get in there and disinfect them,” said Perri.

The city announced last year, $50 million would be set aside to upgrade these parks.

After the floods, they plan to move forward while making a few adjustments.

“In some of the areas where we had planned on storm water retention we might dig them bit deeper or make some of the areas a little more robust than we had originally intended,” said Perri.

In terms of a timeline, cleanup crews plan to disinfect parks immediately after the remaining water recedes.

There are some trails that saw quite a bit of structural damage, repairs for that might take months.

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