In Your Corner: Rising Lake

By Ryan Elijah

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 19, 2009 at 9:43 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter)--
We receive many complaints from residents who feel recent development is resulting in increased flooding in their neighborhood. We decided to take a closer look at one instance involving residents living on Stone Lake in Waynedale.
What was once a gravel pit is now the largest body of water in Fort Wayne, but while residents say Stone lake is a hidden gem, rising water levels have become a problem in recent years. We shot video after a week of dry weather in May and still found about half of the decks and piers underwater.
Rich Franks/Stone Lake Resident "it's not effecting our homes or basements, but it is effecting our property down by the lake, our decks and our investments"
Rich Franke built his house on Stone Lake in 1983 and was told that his deck was 2 feet above the 100 year flood plain. Several houses down, Mrs. Betty showed us a picture of her seawall 5 years ago.... Even though that picture was likely taken in drier times, that same seawall today is completely underwater, a difference of a few feet.
Residents are quick to blame surrounding development for the rising lake levels, a complaint that's not new to city officials
Nancy Townsend/City Utilities "development is sometimes a target, and an easy target for people to point to for the storm water problem, but there are many, many times I would say the majority where development actually improves the drainage system in an area."
While Stone Lake is a privately owned lake, it acts as a detention pond for a larger area. The 100 plus acre lake is in Councilman Mitch Harper's district and he's been in contact with City Utilities for over a year, Harper feels even though homes aren't threatened, the resident around Stone Lake deserve a permanent fix
Mitch Harper/4th District City Council "they had an expectation when they bought the homes that they would have the enjoyment and full use of their property and with the persistently high water levels that's something they've not had"
Since we first looked into the story about a month ago, there's already some good news to report. City workers say there's been an immediate flow increase from the lake after they recently fixed a collapse. Over the next 24 months the city will also replace and redesign the old drainage system, which Councilman Harper tells us actually runs under some homes now. The new system will allow the city to better regulate the lake's water level, the city plans to continue to negotiate with the lake's private owner as they seek a permanent solution to the rising waters. Stone Lake residents had requested that pumps be used to lower the level after heavy rains, but city officials say that solution would be too costly. They say the pumps must be used for homes that are in direct threat of floodwaters

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