Getting Detention 

City looks for alternative solutions to Midtown flooding.


On July 16th, neighbors of Midtown's Lick Creek awoke to find their streets filled with storm water — and they weren't surprised. Despite years of resident outcry and city deliberation over solutions, flooding from Lick Creek continues to be a problem.

Less than a week after the most recent flooding, however, city councilman Jim Strickland proposed hiring an independent engineer to evaluate Midtown's storm-water system.

Mary Wilder, president of the Vollintine-Evergreen Community Association and a member of the city's Lick Creek storm-water coalition, says the issue is simple: There's nowhere for the water to go.

"What we've got is a two-gallon bucket — a system that will only hold so much water — and four gallons of rain," she says.

A 2006 study by outside engineers called for a series of small detention areas throughout the creek system, but the city's most recent plan was to concentrate its detention efforts in the Overton Park greensward.

"They really haven't been following [the study's] recommendations," says Martha Kelly, president of Park Friends, a Midtown nonprofit opposed to the creation of an Overton Park detention area. "Instead, they're focusing on one enormous construction."

Both Wilder and Kelly lament the lack of consideration given to alternate solutions, and they hope that bringing an outside engineer to the table will help find the best solution.

"Let them be open and honest," Wilder says. "Maybe they'll say the study's fine – let's go ahead with it. Maybe they'll say let's look at some other ideas."

Kelly agrees: "Our group wants to make sure that our park isn't harmed unnecessarily and that we do something that will help the situation. We all want a plan that will actually work."

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