DPW website has been updated

The Department of Public Works website has been updated to include the most recent information on the
Indianapolis White River (North) Flood Damage Reduction Project

December 28, 2015

Canal West Bank Alignment Analysis

The City completed the Canal West Bank Alignment Analysis in 2015 to assist in decision making related to the final alignment of the Indianapolis North Flood Damage Reduction Project.  The analysis was completed by the City of Indianapolis as a result of stakeholder concerns regarding the protection of the water supply.  On November 9, 2015, Mayor Greg Ballard met with Colonel Beck, Commander, Louisville District, United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to discuss the draft analysis and its findings.  On December 9, 2015, the Corps informed the City that READ MORE HERE



FEMA Updates Flood Maps

It’s actually somewhat old news that FEMA has updated their flood maps to include many more homes into the flood plain.  However many folks are still unaware that soon they will be required to pay flood insurance.  The maps below show the current homes in the flood plain and the homes that are newly considered in the flood plain.

flood dates

Flood Map Update Schedule



Flood Plains (effective or “current”)



Flood Plains (preliminary or “as of April 19, 2016”)


WNA Supports City’s Decision

December 21, 2015 

Dear Mayor Ballard and Mayor-Elect Hogsett,

On behalf of the Warfleigh Neighborhood Association (WNA), I am writing to support the Department of Public Works’ selection of the Westfield Blvd. alignment to complete the Indianapolis North Flood Damage Reduction Project. The completion of this project is essential to ensuring the safety and sustainability of our neighborhood.

For over 15 years, Warfleigh residents have anticipated the completion of this project. Many of our neighbors bought their homes after researching projected completion dates for this project that have been delayed multiple times by previous administrations. While we all knowingly chose to live in a flood zone and understood the associated risks at the time of purchase, we invested in this great neighborhood under the assurance from the city that the project would be completed by now.

As recently as 2012, the projected completion date was set for the fall of 2014. Each year the project is delayed, hundreds of thousands dollars in flood insurance premiums are funneled out of the local economy from the Warfleigh neighborhood alone. Even if the Westfield Blvd alignment construction is started on schedule, residents in the project zone would not realize full protection until late 2018. Cost savings would then follow approximately a year later, once FEMA revises its flood maps.

As a result of the repeated delays, the Warfleigh neighborhood was affected by the nationwide crisis caused by the implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 (BW-12). In late 2013, homeowners were shocked to learn that the flood insurance premiums they had already been paying were highly subsidized. Due to the NFIP’s $23 billion of debt, Congress and FEMA were forced to begin phasing out these subsidies for all flood insurance policy holders nationwide. Unfortunately, BW-12 left Warfleigh residents facing unaffordable premium hikes and potential homebuyers were fleeing. Our current Vice President Barbara Moser experienced this first hand after moving into Warfleigh in November, 2013.  Their home’s previous owner’s flood insurance policy rate of just over $1000 per year ballooned to more than $8,000 for the Mosers under the rules of BW-12. Legislation passed in 2014 provided short-term relief to situations like Barbara’s by slowing the removal of subsidies, but residents in the flood zone will continue to face substantial increases in premiums every year until the wall is completed.

The WNA believes that the Westfield Blvd alignment is the correct path forward for the completion of this project. While it has been determined to be economically unfeasible to include Rocky Ripple in this federally subsidized project, we empathize with our Rocky Ripple neighbors’ concern for flood safety and rising flood insurance premiums. We will continue to call on the City of Indianapolis to determine a realistic alternative for flood protection for our neighbors in Rocky Ripple.

Steve Brining,

President Warfleigh Neighborhood Association

Renderings of the Proposed Wall along Westfield

These are renderings of the proposed wall along that the Butler Tarkington Neighborhood Association (BTNA) opposes in part due to aesthetic reasons.  Another reason noted was there will be “limited access to the canal”

BTNA quote

In reality, this view shows that there will be an additional bridge across the Canal that currently is not there.  You can find the full document HERE

.fw2 fw1

Indianapolis Announces How It Will Complete Northside Levee

Find original article and photos HERE

By: Ryan Delaney

Updated, Dec. 17:

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis public works officials have finally decided how the city will complete a flood wall along the White River on the city’s north side. The decision is being welcomed by some neighborhoods along the river, but denounced by others

The public works department said in a Monday afternoon announcement it will extend an earthen levee from Kessler Boulevard to Butler University along the east side of the White River and Central Canal and connect it to high ground near Butler’s athletic facilities.

That will require a flood gate to be built across the canal, north of Butler University’s campus. The canal is a major source of drinking water for the city.

Construction of the levee, which is intended to protect residents living south and east of the river from flooding began in 2002, but then stalled after the second phase over pushback from neighborhood groups down river.

The city will pay a quarter of the $40 million construct cost and the Army Corps. of Engineers will fund the rest. When completed, it will remove properties in the Broad Ripple, Warfleigh and Butler-Tarkington neighborhoods from needing expensive flood insurance.

But the current plan completely leaves the town of Rocky Ripple susceptible to rising river waters.

A neighborhood group called Save Warfleigh that has been lobbying for the levee to be completed called the announcement “a wonderful development.” Residents in Warfleigh have seen their flood insurance premiums increase as the city has spent two decades deciding how to complete the levee.

Save Warfleigh has been waging a public relations and petition campaign to pressure city officials to decide how they’ll complete the wall. It’s been delayed by studies, pushback by property owners down river and changing Army Corps. standards.

Right now, flood protection from the levee extends from Broad Ripple to about Kessler Boulevard, but since the levee isn’t connected to high ground, it’s not technically complete and would provide minimal protection in the event of a flood. This third phase is intended to complete the levee.

Butler-Tarkington and Rocky Ripple residents, meanwhile, are outraged, blaming the city of making an 11th hour decision that damages aesthetics and doesn’t protect all homes.

“The folks upstream only seem to want insurance protection. The folks downstream are looking for protection from floods,” said Dennis Faulkenberg, a Butler-Tarkington resident.

The neighborhood associated said this in part of a statement it put out.

BTNA has long opposed this option because of the threat it creates for catastrophic damage to the Central Canal and the Town of Rocky Ripple in the event of a major flood. Moreover, the Westfield Boulevard alignment requires the clearing of hundreds of mature trees and creates a 6 foot flood wall that runs along the canal and through historic Holcomb Gardens on the Butler University campus.

Butler University has expressed concerns about damage to Holcomb Gardens from levee construction.

The neighborhood association is asking the city to delay this decision in order for a new administration, that of Mayor-elect Joe Hogsett, to weigh in. Legal action would be premature, Faulkenberg said.

Contact Ryan: 317.489.4491 | rdelaney@wfyi.org | @rpatrickdelaney

Butler-Tarkington, Meridian-Kessler groups oppose city’s route for last leg of flood wall

John Tuohy, john.tuohy@indystar.com 6:18 a.m. EST December 16, 2015

Find the original article HERE

The city has agreed to an Army Corps of Engineers plan for construction of the last section of the Northside White River flood wall, a choice that placated some residents and angered others Tuesday.

The levee will be built mostly on the eastside of the Central Canal Towpath, along Westfield Boulevard from North Capitol Avenue southwest to the Holcomb Gardens at Butler University. But the 6-foot-tall concrete berm will start west of the canal on the east bank of the White River north of the Riviera Club at Illinois Street. The levee will cross over the canal at Capitol. A lock, or floodgate, on the canal will allow water to run through the crossover.

The $40 million Northside White River flood wall project (see project map), underway for 20 years, is intended to reduce flooding in the Northside neighborhoods of Broad Ripple, Meridian-Kessler, Butler Tarkington and Warfleigh. City officials said the flood protection will cut flood insurance costs and increase property values for homeowners

Residents of Warfleigh, where the flood wall already has been installed on the east side of the White River, applauded the route choice made by Indianapolis’ Department of Public Works.

“This is a wonderful development,” said Jim Polito, who organized a group called Save Warfleigh to encourage the city to complete the project. “We now must be very vocal in supporting the city’s decision and the Westfield Boulevard alignment so that the project remains on track.”

The city was considering two basic routes for the last leg. The other route was on the west bank of the canal, closer to the White River. But a $200,000 environmental study by the city concluded that the soil on that side wasn’t strong enough to support a wall. Most of the levee, running from the heart of Broad Ripple to Illinois Street, has been built.

Several neighborhood groups, including the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association, the Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Association and the Broad Ripple Village Neighborhood Association, have expressed opposition to the chosen route.

To build the nearly mile-long barrier, trees need to be cut down and vegetation cleared on Westfield. The opponents have said the levee would gather trash and destroy sight lines to the canal and its habitat, home to great blue herons, turtles and other wildlife.

Butler-Tarkington board member Dennis Faulkenberg said the flood wall’s crossing the canal and the building of floodgates could be troublesome for the water supply. He also questioned whether the wall would stop the canal area from flooding.

Butler and Citizens Energy, which owns the canal and uses it as a reservoir for most of the city’s drinking water, also had opposed the Westfield route.

Citizens had said the canal water supply could be threatened in a major flood if the wall was built on the east side. But the utility said Tuesday in a written statement that it now supports the route because the city had promised to build Citizens a new pumping station.

“The City has assured Citizens plans will include a new drinking water intake structure downstream of the proposed Central Canal flood gate, so over 60 percent of our community’s drinking water supply is not interrupted when the canal flood gate is closed,” a statement from the utility said. “Based on this assurance, Citizens fully supports Mayor Ballard’s decision to move forward with the Westfield (Boulevard).”

Department of Public Works spokeswoman Jennifer Hashem said in a written statement that “currently a pumping station has been considered, but the details need to be examined.”

“The station could create a secondary supply source,” she said, adding that the city had no cost estimate.

Butler spokesman Michael Kaltenmark said the university would likely continue to oppose the plan because the levee would cut through Holcomb Gardens.

Neither plan would do anything for Rocky Ripple, which is between the White River and the canal near 52nd Street. The town council voted in 1996 against the levee being built on the river because it would obstruct homeowners views to the water. Years later, town leaders decided they wanted the protection, but by that time the Army Corps said it would cost too much to change the route.

Hashem said a construction timeline has not been determined. But Polito said he understood from public meetings he attended it would take three to five years to complete.

Call Star reporter John Tuohy at 317 444-6418 and follow on Twitter @john_tuohy

Homeowners feel blindsided, betrayed by DPW flood wall plan

By Mary Milz, WTHR Citybeat reporter


Several north side neighborhood leaders are feeling blindsided and betrayed by the city’s “11th-hour decision” to build a controversial flood wall along Westfield Boulevard.

Neil Bloede with the Butler Tarkington Neighborhood Association said, “it really feels like a gut punch to go back to square one and have the city recommend an alignment that the community resoundly opposed.”

Monday evening, the Department of Public Works issued a news release announcing it had “selected” the Westfield alignment, and was authorizing the Army Corp of Engineers to move forward with planning, design and construction.

The wall is the final phase of the city’s “flood damage reduction project” for the Broad Ripple, Warfleigh, Meridian-Kessler and Butler Tarkington neighborhoods. It’s aimed at removing nearly 2,000 homes and businesses from the 100-year Floodplain while eliminating the need for those property owners to meet “burdensome flood insurance requirements.”

How to best protect the area from the White River has been a contentious issue for several years. In 2012, after much study, the Army Corp of Engineers proposed building a flood wall as high as six feet along Westfield Boulevard between Capitol Avenue and Butler University.

Opponents argued it didn’t protect Rocky Ripple or the Central Canal (the city’s main source of drinking water) from flooding and it meant cutting down hundreds of trees.

The city agreed to consider alternatives with many assuming the Westfield flood wall was off the table, until Monday night.

“To say we were surprised would be an understatement,” Bloede said. “We had absolutely no idea this was coming.”

Michael McKillip with Midtown Indy said, “We just met with DPW a week ago and are completely blindsided by this and extremely disappointed. It feels like an 11th hour decision that seals the fate of a community right before the holidays.”

Bloede said opponents hope to have “a conversation with Mayor-Elect (Joe) Hogsett to see what his position is…we’d much prefer a mutually agreeable resolution to this.”

There are also those relieved to see the city move forward after years of debate.

“We’re all giddy in the Warfleigh neighborhood,” said Jim Polito.

Many homeowners there have been dealing with skyrocketing insurance premiums and fears of selling their homes until a protection plan was approved.

“We just wanted the city to move expeditiously with any alternative. We never favored one over another, we just wanted them to move forward with something extensively studied and vetted,” Polito said.

But he knows the battle may not be over.

“We’re just very pleased with this development and cautiously optimistic, but understand much work needs to be done,” he said.