During its September 9, 2013 meeting, the Indianapolis City/County Council passed proposal 263, co-sponsored by Councillors Barth and Osili, by a vote of 20-8. Proposal 263 amends the code to require the Director of the Department of Public Works to publish a detailed quarterly schedule of all planned public infrastructure projects. If signed, this proposal will provide another important tool for neighborhood association leaders to use in advocating for their neighborhood’s priorities.
Below is a letter from Councillor Barth to the United States Army Corps of Engineers on the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the Indianapolis North Flood Reduction Project:
September 2, 2013
Colonel Luke T. Leonard
US Army Corps Of Engineers; Louisville District
PO Box 59
Louisville, KY 40201
Dear Colonel Leonard:
As you know, On August 23, 2012, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) hosted a public hearing for residents to comment on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) for the Phase 3B of the White River, Indianapolis North Flood Reduction Project. During that meeting 100% of speakers were opposed or expressed significant concerns.
This past June, the USACE issued the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) in which two proposed plans were supported by the USACE. The supported plans included the previously opposed “Westfield Boulevard Alternate” and a new concept – called the “56th Street Alternate.” Neither of these options/concepts addresses the concerns of the community (including all the surrounding neighborhood associations). Below I have listed just a few of these concerns, but in general I oppose any plan that crosses the Canal and does not provide flood protection for the community of Rocky Ripple. Concerns include:
• Clearing of trees along Westfield Blvd and the Central Canal;
• Clearing of trees along Holcomb Gardens (Holcomb Gardens is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Place);
• The proposed alternatives would pose a threat to city water supply if there were a flood. The City of Indianapolis acquires 60% of its water from the Central Canal;
• The floodgate position and design would require a valve on at least one sewer line. In the event of a flood, sewers could back up into neighborhood homes;
• A wall would alter the aesthetic quality of the area and walls tend to collect trash and serve as canvasses for graffiti;
• If the project were done in either proposed alignment, there is no guarantee that flood insurance requirements for some properties would be removed or reduced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
As I stated during the August 23, 2012, public meeting – no neighborhood associations in the affected areas have been meaningfully consulted by the USACE. I urge you to take an alternative approach to this project and agree to organize a working group of community leaders to develop a plan for flood protection that works for all. I believe that with a collaborative approach, we can reach an agreeable solution. Please let me know any questions you may have.
At-Large Member of the Indianapolis City/County Council
Council Vice President