WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) – A roughly century-old railroad embankment that Westfield relied on to stay dry is no more.
For decades, the downtown area — particularly near Cool Creek — has depended on the Midland Railroad embankment to serve as a levy of sorts. With it gone, the town is vulnerable and neighbors want something done.
“I’ve never seen it flood like that. If that levy hadn’t have busted I guess it would have been all right,” said Jim Lewis, who has lived in the neighborhood for 54 years.
When the embankment crumbled Last Thursday, water flooded homes, businesses and even the local food pantry. Now Hamilton County and the city of Westfield are putting their heads together to come up with a new solution.
“So we want to make sure that the proposed engineering design would mimic what was there in the past,” said Kenton Ward, Hamilton County surveyor.
Come this summer, Westfield has plans to expand Mill Road to run through the Cool Creek area. With it comes trails, parks and what they’re calling The Grand Junction Project.
“I don’t see how they can put up a big development down here because it’s going to flood again,” said neighbor Danny Haskett.
With that summer project, the city’s now proposing the addition of a weir that mimics the old embankment — concrete blocks and a 48-inch metal pipe like what was there before. Until that fix, properties in the flood train are especially vulnerable to more flooding. Neighbors like Haskett still don’t think that fix will be enough.
“I mean that pipe there now is just way too small. It needs to be a bigger hole,” said Haskett.
Calls into the Westfield mayor’s office were not returned.