By Matt Werner
After flooding caused damage throughout Zionsville late last week, the process of putting everything back together has begun.
Matt Dickey, superintendent of the Zionsville Parks and Recreation Department, said he and his crews have been hard at work since the flood waters began to recede. Lions Park and the Little League fields also required a lot of work to clean.
“Many of our parks were underwater, and park staff, including myself, spent long hours getting into wet areas to assess,” he said. “At least some repairs started Friday afternoon (April 19) on sites we could reach and continued through the weekend and (Monday, April 22).”
Dickey said that the U.S. Geological Survey showed the waters topping out at 16 feet.
“It has been said (the flood was) the worst in at least 50 years and perhaps 75,” Dickey said.
Stephanie Nelson, special events coordinator with Zionsville Little League, said that more than 200 people came out Sunday, April 21, to help clean the fields after the rising waters canceled the usual opening night ceremony.
“We pumped some water off the fields,” she said. “Four of the fields are really soggy. We are waiting until they can dry out and then see what the weather does.”
Nelson said some of the work that had to be done was repairing fences, putting bleachers and picnic tables back in their place and removing leaves, muck and filth.
“We are hoping that people can get out and start playing and practicing this week,” she said. “We are definitely taking it day by day, but our plan is to have opening night on Friday evening (April 26).”
Nelson said it was a huge help having so many people come out to prep the fields.
“Having all those people made all the difference in the world,” she said. “It means that we are able to resume play and practice without too much delay; there’s no way we could be out there without everyone’s help.”
Tim Reinhardt, president of the Lions Club, said that cleaning Lions Park was a major chore.
“We did a lot of spraying off of mud-soaked tables and chairs,” he said. “We had to completely empty our clubhouse, and chase down some tables and bleachers.”
Reinhardt said he wasn’t sure how much damage was done to the park.
“All of our John Deere Gators had to be taken in to get serviced,” he said. “We may have lost one of our electric Gators because it’s too much to repair. We lost a lot of paper products. Probably our biggest expense would be that we had several electrical outlets submerged in water.”
Reinhardt said nobody in the club could remember the park flooding that badly before.
“We’ve had our shelter house and concession stand flooded before, but nobody could remember water getting into the clubhouse basement at that level before,” he said.
Rick Lowder, of Lowder Insurance Agency, said his office has been busy since the flood.
“We had a few flood claims, but we had probably 30 claims for the back up of sewer and drain,” he said. “Those are the majority of claims we get in a situation like this is when sump pumps get backed up or can’t keep up and water backs up into the basement.”
Lowder said the last time his office received this many claims was in April 2006.
“There was a big storm with some baseball-sized hail that caused damage,” he said. “That storm also had a lot of heavy rain, which resulted in flooded and backed-up basements.”
Lowder did offer advice for homeowners.
“Back-up protection is not automatically part of a policy,” he said. “If you have a finished basement, you need to make sure your property is covered under that because it is different than flood protection.”