New steps to control Manhattan’s Wildcat Creek

MANHATTAN (KSNT) – The city of Manhattan, Riley and Pottawatomie County will meet tomorrow night to take the next step in reducing the flood threat along wildcat creek.

While some steps have already been taken to reduce the threat to homes and businesses along the flood-prone creek, the question now is how to pay for the big ticket projects.

“When it flooded it was 18 inches throughout the whole house,” says Sonja Berry. She and her husband Jerome have lived in their home for 30 years. In 2010 when they had their first experience with flooding.

“It was up to my chest and I can remember h was hanging on to me and holding my purse up above the water level.”

As the city of Manhattan continues to grow and more businesses and residential homes cover the ground, storm runoff has to go somewhere and that’s into wildcat creek, which in recent years has been more prone to flooding than in years past.

Manhattan has already taken some preliminary steps to solve future problems. New flood plain maps, higher standard flood plain regulation for both new development as well as ways to reduce the impact on existing development,” says Chad Bunger, flood plan administrator. But limiting future development doesn’t solve the problem of protecting what’s already been built. The challenge is finding the money to build projects like detention ponds or even more costly projects. “Other things we are looking at doing is maybe mitigating these existing homes and businesses and so elevating them, purchasing them or moving them back,” says Bunger.

That’s the purpose of Thursday night’s meeting, to try and identify money sources. Officials say with wildcat creek there’s always a risk of flooding but the action plan they have put in place they hope to reduce the risk along the creek. The steps could take a year where others could take five plus years.

City of Manhattan, Riley and Pottawatomie County will meet to discuss wildcat creek February 19th at 4pm.

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