Westbrook from State to Clinton to close permanently providing park-like setting

Following voluntary buyouts of homes along Westbrook Avenue south of State Boulevard, work is scheduled to begin Aug. 18 to transform that area into a park-like setting that will serve as part of the City'€™s flood control efforts.

All Star Construction and Excavation Inc. will barricade and close Westbrook from State Boulevard to Clinton Street. The street will be removed, but a new sidewalk will be installed to provide a walking path through a rain garden with native plants that will soak up and filter water.

Along the backyards on the east side of Edgehill on the City-owned property, the company will construct earthen levees to serve as permanent protection measures for 11 homes. The open land will also be able to hold some of the overflow during high-water events.

“The City of Fort Wayne continues to look for ways to protect homes and residents from high water. This means we don'€™t wait on immediate measures like sandbags, but look for innovative ways to mitigate the damage before it happens,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “This area will provide open space the vast majority of the time, but will also be a key part of our efforts to retain water during floods.”

The homeowners voluntarily sold their houses to the City as part of a buyout program for areas that have suffered chronic flooding. The affected homes often experienced floods two to three times year with flood-fighting costs of more than $100,000 per episode, followed by lengthy clean-ups of property damage.

Westbrook Avenue is along the Spy Run Creek and has experienced repeated high water over the years, and the houses have experienced property damage. The homes were demolished prior to the start of this project.

“The homeowners in this portion of Westbrook and Eastbrook have suffered from frequent flash flood events for many years. The previous homeowners along Westbrook and the current Eastbrook homeowners have to be concerned about their homes being flooded every time we have heavy rainfall along this portion of the Spy Run Creek,” said Bob Kennedy, Director of Public Works. “After much study and planning, we are very excited to enter the construction phase. Not only were we able to remove the homes and protect citizens from a very volatile flooding situation, we are increasing the storage capacity during high water events with an area dedicated to green space, in a park-like setting.” 

The work is scheduled to be finished by the end of October. The cost is about $237,000 paid from a City Utilities stormwater bond. City Council and the Board of Works approved the project in June 2008. The project has been discussed in the City Council Flood Committee.