Leawood will need to move parks facility to higher ground says city admin after major flooding, damage

Leawood's parks shop was submerged in recent flooding, causing major damage to equipment. Photo via Leawood Public Works.
Leawood’s parks shop was submerged in recent flooding, causing major damage to equipment. Photo via Leawood Public Works.

By Ayesha Vishnani

Leawood Admininstrator Scott Lambers says the city’s park shop needs to be moved to higher ground immediately after major flooding from the July 27 storm left tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment damaged and in need of replacement or repair.

“As development continues to occur and we have more structures going up, we can only expect more of these types of results even with lesser intense storms,” Lambers told the city council on Monday. “Because you’re just going to have much more water flowing. For that reason I believe the city should look to relocate our facilities from there to higher ground and within city limit.”

The park shop, which houses much of the city’s maintenance equipment, is located at 104th Street and State Line Road, abutting Indian Creek, which saw massive flooding in recent torrential rains. Lambers said having insurance is not enough to solve the issue at hand.

“People say ‘well you got insurance,’” Lambers said. “Okay, sure we pay insurance premiums, and then we have deductibles, and they deduct the value of the equipment that has been damaged. And then the next year they raise our rates to get the money back.”

Lambers said he plans to have location options for the city to consider during the September council meeting.

Along with the park shop, 30 buildings and 6 major streets flooded in Leawood due to the storms. The Leawood staff has been working to assess and repair damaged areas. The flood also caused serious damage to Ironhorse golf course, leaving 18 of the 48 bunkers unplayable, a footbridge in need of rebuilding, erosion and tree damage. Leawood parks saw structural damage and significant debris-related problems that are under inspection and repair.

There was a also a significant amount of tree debris that affected roads due to the first storm on July 22, which the staff described as a minor event in comparison to the major flooding event on July 27. In an email to the city council, Interim Director of Public Works David Lay said the City worked with AbrorMasters for curbside pickup from July 31 to Aug 3. Ley estimated the cost of pick up efforts at around $11,000.

At the meeting, council member Julie Cain recognized that not all flooding had been reported.

“I just wanted to say accolades to us, to you, your departments for picking up all the debris,” Cain said. “Because if you drove up and down north of 435 there was considerable amount of tree damage. The rule was that if it was 10 feet or less that you had to drag it to the curb, we would pick it up. That was a tremendous resource to our citizens, and I really appreciate you facilitating that in such a timely manner.”

The trails were also closed due to the flooding, but reopened for the public for the weekend following the event.

“I would like to offer just tremendous appreciation for all the hard work that you’ve put in,” Mayor Peggy Dunn said to the staff during the meeting. “The timing of these storms has been such that they’ve seem to have occur right before weekends when our trails are greatly utilized. And somehow someway you’ve gotten them ready for the public to enjoy.”

With the staff focused on flooding, councilmember Debra Filla asked for an extension on the community garden project.

“We’d like to ask you to give us another year because certainly the staff is no less busy right now especially after all the flooding,” Filla said. “We really haven’t got as much work as we’d like, we need to have staff involvement.”

Filla said there are options being considered for the location of the garden but require legal and partnership work that has not been done in the past. The city council unanimously approved the extension of the project to September 1, 2018.