New Kalamazoo dredging system tested by storm

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Heavy rains this weekend caused flooding along sections of Axtell Creek in Kalamazoo.

The Crosstown Ponds near Forest Street and South Park Streets are known to flood, but a city dredging project hopes to reduce the risk.

The KNHS Home Ownership Center saw flooding in its parking lot this weekend.

Matt Milcarck, the director of construction services for KNHS, says workers were expecting even more water.

“We were prepared for the worst on Monday,” Milcarck said.

They used a pump to return the water to the creek and emptied the parking lot by the end of the day. According to Milcarck, the dredging project appears to be helping drainage.

“For it to have been down this far, it’s not just the pump,” Milcarck said.

In February of 2018, flood waters had an even bigger impact on the building. The flooding had become an almost common scene.

“We’ve been shut down for several days due to the fact that the building is completely surrounded,” Milcarck said. “We didn’t have any closure this time around.”

Scott Schrum, the CEO of Residential Opportunities Incorporated, says previous flooding had been much more severe. He is hopeful the dredging project will help.

“We have had people that couldn’t get to work, or it took half an hour to drive around the flood to get to one of our buildings,” Schrum said.

In October of 2017, the water even had some of R.O.I.’s vans partially submerged.

However, the real test of the dredging work may still be to come.

“I don’t think we know yet whether what has been done worked,” Schrum said. “We got a couple inches of rain as I understand it over the weekend and I’m not sure that’s enough to test the system.”

Many people in the area believe they might need to see double that amount of rain before they know the true impact of the dredging project.