Dear Collegian Editor,
Sacrificing the town of Rocky Ripple for the sake of completing a 30-year-old flood project is neither good nor responsible government. This is the message once again being sent by the town board of Rocky Ripple, a small village nestled between the Central Canal, White River and Butler University.
In Mid-December Indianapolis officials announced another change to the location of the North Flood Damage Reduction Project. This time, from the west-side of the canal back to the east-side known as the Westfield Blvd. Alignment. Although the change is better for a few homeowners in Rocky Ripple, as it saves their houses; from the point of view of the town as a whole, both plans wall the town into the path of flood waters, which is worse than doing nothing.
The main reason hundreds of Rocky Ripple and adjoining community residents have spoken out in public meetings, sent letters and made phone calls against the canal options over the last five years is not because they are against flood protection, but because the town is being ignored and sacrificed in “a” plan for flood protection of others.
For more than twenty years Rocky Ripple has requested help from the City in maintaining and restoring the earthen levee that has protected the town since it was built by the WPA in the 1930s. Now the biggest flood threat is not the river coming over the top of the levee but a break in the levee resulting in a washout. If the levee fails where the White River turns west and separates from the canal just south of 56th Street and Illinois, the river would be diverted with a terrible force into Rocky Ripple and those who were not washed away would be under water in a matter of minutes. Construction up-stream has increased the flow and speed of the river during high-water incidents, and the decision to leave Rocky Ripple out of the flood protection plan, not only threatens the small town into becoming a blighted area of more than 300 homes, it threatens lives.
City officials need to work with USACE to develop a flood protection plan that not only provides relief from flood insurance and more favorable business development, but one that also protects human life. What is needed is a plan to address the levee on the river in Rocky Ripple. But, if City officials won’t do that, then the Rocky Ripple Town Board asks that the plan to put a wall on the canal be stopped so a life-threatening situation isn’t created.
Sincerely Rocky Ripple Town Board,