Flood victims tell committee city is ignoring their concerns

But Port officials say study has been delayed until problem at condos is fixed

A Toyota Prius covered in mud was towed out of the underground parking garage of the Lighthouse Condominiums after in flooded in August. Press file photo
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Several people whose houses were flooded last August told the Port Washington Board of Public Works Tuesday that they feel like their concerns are being ignored and they beseeched the panel to take measures to prevent any future flooding.

“After eight months, there doesn’t appear to be a detailed plan. I need this done now,” said Dave Ross, who owns a duplex at 240-242 N. Spring St. “I’m in urgency mode. I’m having a tough time getting tenants or selling the property.

“I’m asking for this process to be sped up. This problem has not been solved. I don’t get it.”

Karen Oleski, who lives in the Lighthouse Condominiums at 415 N. Lake St., told the board she, too, feels forgotten. 

“I don’t want you to forget 40 households have been impacted,” she said, noting the high-rise’s garage flooded, its elevator damaged and 25 vehicles were destroyed. 

More than $200,000 in damage occurred during the flood, Oleski said, and while the homeowners association is looking at ways to help keep water from entering the building, the city needs to take steps to prevent further issues.

Even something as small as adding a trash rack to prevent the Valley Creek culvert from clogging — something officials said likely contributed to the flooding — would reassure residents the city cares, Oleski said.

The city has commissioned Stantec Consulting Services to study both areas and look at the most effective ways to mitigate flooding, board members said.

Those studies are contingent on the city conducting surveys that haven’t been completed yet, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said, noting the snow only recently melted and rain since then has made it difficult to do the work.

Once the survey is done, it will take about five weeks for the studies to be completed.

However, Vanden Noven said, officials have been working with the condo association and have discovered an issue with a manhole that likely affected flooding in the building. The study is on hold until the association has completed its work.

And while the trash rack may seem like a simple measure, Vanden Noven said, the city is looking at whether to change the size of the culvert, which would affect the size of the rack.

“We are moving forward,” Board Chairman Jason Wittek said.

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