Shelby Austin apologized for not having showered as she addressed the Prairie Village City Council Monday.
The family’s been without a water heater for days now. The washer and dryer? Gone, too. As is her car. And the air conditioner.
But the thing she’s most gutted to have lost in two rounds of severe flooding at her home on the corner of Mission Road and 68th Street is 17 years worth of family memorabilia, including her husband Don’s gear from two tours in Iraq.
“All of his stuff was down there — memorabilia, documents, pictures, letters, awards, uniforms,” Austin said.
Austin was just one of several residents who came to Monday’s council meeting to urge the city to find a way to remediate the increasingly frequent flooding of Brush Creek that has devastated the neighborhood. In the two bouts of torrential rain that have caused flash flooding in recent weeks, the neighborhoods near Brush Creek by Village Presbyterian Church have seen historic levels of flooding that have caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage. One resident showed the council a picture of a red pickup truck parked on the street that was almost completely submerged after Brush Creek hopped its banks:
In addition to the damage to their property, residents say they are concerned about the public safety threat posed by water spilling across an active thoroughfare. When Brush Creek flooded in September, Don Austin was forced to rescue three motorists who had been caught in rising waters. (He lost several thousand dollars of photo equipment in that incident, which area residents helped him replace with a GoFundMe campaign).
“It is dangerous, it is deep, and folks do not know,” said Shelby Austin on Monday.
“We’ve witnessed that this flooding is not only a public safety issue, but has damaged our homes,” said Merrill Myers, who helped organize the residents’ appearance before the council Monday.
Mayor Laura Wassmer told the residents that the city would begin talking about potential remedies for the problem.
“Our heart goes out to you, and we will definitely discuss this,” Wassmer said. “We’ll keep you informed and keep you in the loop.”