Summer rains raise flooding concerns in Carmel
Allie Missler and her family have lived in their home in Concord Village since 1998, and there’s always been flooding when it rains, but it seems things have gotten worse the past few years.
“It really started getting bad around 2010 and has become exponentially worse,” she said. “We have repeatedly asked both our former council members and the city directly for help. In addition to our back yard, our cul-de-sac floods, as water needs to fight gravity to drain uphill to a storm sewer.”
Heavy rains in June have caused some areas of Carmel to flood pretty quickly, even with less than an inch of rainfall. Carmel City Council members are telling residents fixes are in the works, and more than $40 million is being spent to solve storm-water problems citywide but that the process takes time.
But every time there’s a heavy rain, some neighbors get impatient.
“We’re just fed up,” said Charlie Demler, who lives on Emerson Road, which has a frequent problem with flooding.
Elsewhere, a couple who has experienced more than a dozen severe basement floods in the past 13 years is dealing with the issue yet again. Derek Fakehany, who has been in the hospital for more than a month as he battles a blood cancer, and his wife, Amy Van Ostrand, have been receiving updates from neighbors.
“I woke up to the news today that our basement is absolutely filled with water all over again,” Van Ostrand stated on June 23. “The City of Carmel has done absolutely nothing to address the issues, and now my husband is critically ill and clinging to life, and I am dealing with water in my basement.”
City Councilor Bruce Kimball, who represents the area where Demler, Fakehany and Van Ostrand live, reminded his constituents he voted to borrow funds to complete the city’s stormwater projects as soon possible, using the annual stormwater fee for households to repay the debt. The previous council appeared to be opposed to bonding this out, he said, which would have meant it would have taken decades to complete the job.
“Besides agreeing to a hyperfix, one of the first things I did was agree to put the stormwater department back with the city engineer,” Kimball wrote in an email to constituents. “The plan is complete, the stakes are in the ground, much of the materials are on the ground. I’ve been told you have been in the engineering office and seen the plans and been told the steps necessary to reroute the storm sewers.”
Kimball said he understands some neighbors are upset, but “short of condemning someone’s house for a retention pond which none of us wants,” he said people need to trust the well-defined process. He notes a major step is burying detention baffles in Midtown in the near future.
“A lot of these projects go back to the ’50s and ’60s, and we’re going as fast as we can,” he told Current in Carmel. “We’re putting it back in the hands of the city engineer, and we’ll get there in three years at the most instead of the 20 to 30 years if we didn’t pass the bond.”
But not everyone has expressed frustrations with the city over flooding. Missler said she’s getting impatient with the flooding, but still had some respectful words for elected officials.
“We have spoken with the city and council members several times,” she said. “We had always been told they were ‘studying the situation.’ I will say that Bruce Kimball has been an advocate for us, and we now know that we are slated to have improvements in the next three years. That seems very far away right now.”
Missler said the problem is just getting worse and worse. She points to a “bee hive” drain in her neighbor’s yard that shot three feet into the air due to all the pressure from storm water.
“We love our home,” she said. “We even chose to rebuild it after a devastating fire five years ago. We are incredibly supportive of the new development in central Carmel. We frequent local businesses and love the progress. We are just incredibly tired of seeing our hard work and money literally washed down the drain.”
Elsewhere in Carmel, a couple who has experienced more than a dozen severe basement floods in the past 13 years is dealing with the issue yet again. Derek Fakehany, who has been in the hospital for more than a month as he battles a blood cancer, and his wife, Amy Van Ostrand, have been receiving updates from neighbors.
“I woke up to the news today that our basement is absolutely filled with water all over again,” Van Ostrand stated on June 23. “The City of Carmel has done absolutely nothing to address the issues, and now my husband critically ill and clinging to life, and I am dealing with water in my basement.”