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Columbus Flood Plan: Build Retention Ponds, Buy At-Risk Land

The city held an open forum to discuss flood prevention days before the 5-year anniversary of a massive flood that caused $500 million in damage.

Columbus

Photo: Jimmy Jenkins

Columbus residents view maps of flood control areas at an open forum on flood planning Wednesday night.

Five years after the city was hit by an unprecedented flood that put the hospital out of use for nearly five months and damaged more than 1,500 homes, Columbus is considering a plan aimed at reducing the impact another major flood would have on the community.

At a meeting Wednesday night, engineering firm Christopher Burke presented a flood response and prevention plan.

The company’s principal engineer Siavesh Beik says in addition to addressing areas that already present flood risks, the plan also provides room for the city to expand.

“Such measures we are talking about are making sure that when the development occurs in the watershed, that we have adequate detention ponds or adequate measures to make sure that flood volumes are increasing downstream,” Beik says.

The city would also consider buying out property that is most at risk of flooding and identify areas emergency management crews should prioritize with response efforts during heavy rains.

But some attendees like Jose Rosalez say the plan is not enough. He is considering moving to Columbus and says though the plan is a good step forward, he would like to see more concrete actions being taken before he decides to call the city home.

“It has affected 30 percent of the population, 30 percent of the city, as we are looking to relocate here, that’s a serious concern,” Rosalez says.

The Columbus city council must still decide whether it wants to adopt the plan and how to fund it.

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