LETTER: Enough lip service; Port needs to fix westside flooding problem

To Ozaukee Press:

Many years ago, the City of Port Washington made the decision to fill in a running stream that flowed from the west end of Larabee Street heading east past Spring Street.  It was replaced by installation of a 36-inch tube. It is open to discussion as to whether this concept was right or wrong. However, the flooding problems that it created are very real and have plagued that area since.

At the time the tube was put in, it did not have the capacity to handle the flow of water after a heavy rain event, causing flooding beginning at the west end of Larabee Street, going past Crocker Street and continuing through the area and across Spring Street. The development of the Spinnaker West subdivision to the west of that area with no plan for the increased runoff water other than to try to force it into an already overloaded storm system has increased the intensity and frequency of the flooding.

To make matters worse, the city has narrowed Larabee Street and is threatening to narrow Crocker Street. To quote the engineering firm the city hired to study this problem, “We use the streets as a holding area for overflow water.” By narrowing the streets, the city has taken away a holding area for overflow water in direct conflict with the advice of the company they hired to solve this issue. This has only served to increase the intensity and frequency of the flooding.

The city would like you to believe the problems we’ve had are the result of so-called 100-year or even 500-year flood events. In the 12 years we have lived here, we have had five major “100 year or 500-year events” and several minor runoff events, all causing property damage.

The study done by engineering firm hired by the city several years ago actually listed several options that would help mitigate, if not eliminate, flooding in this area. So far it has been all talk and no action. When is the city going to step up and take care of its taxpaying citizens instead of paying lip service shortly after a flood and hoping people forget about it? I wonder if city officials have a clue what it feels like to worry every time it rains that we will experience another flood?

With more development to the west and climatologists forecasting more severe storms, flooding is only going to increase, in terms of both intensity and frequency as seen last fall and again this fall. The City of Port Washington needs to take a lesson from Milwaukee County regarding the Kinnickinnic River and fix the mistake that was made years ago.

Karl Wildner
Port Washington
Editor’s note: The letter writer is a resident of West Larabee Street.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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