Hutchinson The refusal of city and county officials to fund the improvement of a levee near an unincorporated section of Hutchinson has prompted concerns among residents.
The city voted last year to improve and recertify levees along the Arkansas River and Cow Creek, with the exception of Ring Levee C, which protects the unincorporated section of Hutchinson, according to The Hutchinson News. Reno County has also declined to fund the estimated $570,000 in repairs.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to remap and reaccredit levees in the area in 2013, and those living in unaccredited areas could be forced to buy flood insurance. FEMA is deciding whether the area is a floodplain, said Mike Cappannari, FEMA external affairs officer.
Ken Ebmeier, who lives a half mile from the Ring C Levee, said residents want to know what’s going to happen. He said he and 300 other property owners in the neighborhood received letters from the county saying it would not repair the levee and informing them that they may need to buy flood insurance once FEMA has remapped the area.
“We’re concerned that what we bought is very soon not going to be worth what we paid for,” Ebmeier said.
Brian Clennan, Hutchinson director of engineering, said the consequences of neglecting Ring Levee C are unclear. He said the levees were built in the 1950s to protect from a 100-year storm and that Ring Levee C would likely offer protection, but “it’s a question of how much.”
“There may be some failure, but it may not be catastrophic,” Clennan said. “I know at this point in time those calculations have not been done.”