Citizen’s idea to solve flooding has merit, historyIt’s always inspiring to hear a citizen wronged by circumstances seek solutions rather than complain.
It’s always inspiring to hear a citizen wronged by circumstances seek solutions rather than complain.
Such was the case when the Superior Telegram ran across Dane Jusula at the Superior City Council meeting a little more than two weeks ago.
Facing about $36,000 dollars in damage to his home — lost appliances, water heater and furnace, a finished basement for which the value has disappeared — just seven months after he bought the house near the University of Wisconsin-Superior power plant, Jusula approached the council with a suggestion rather than a complaint.
Jusula suggested — quite smartly, we think — that the city council consider building a stormwater system similar to that constructed in South Superior, where more than five inches of rain in a couple hours left the streets flooded and pink toilet paper floating in the basement of a homeowner who only purchased white.
That flooding episode in 1999 brought a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to the city to help pay for the solution, a system of stormwater sewers and holding pond to help alleviate the pressure on the system during a heavy rain event.
For those who could empathize with those residents of South Superior more than a decade ago who fought for months for justice only to have a judge say the city was at fault, but couldn’t be held liable to the damage to their homes, the stormwater system is a solution that makes sense — one the city was willing to execute.
After all, to date, we’ve seen familiar names among claimants who no longer live in South Superior. What they have in common with Jusula is where they live today. Jusula lives about midway between Central Park, where city youth were canoeing and diving into the water that had taken over the tennis court and the university where the “conservative estimates” put the damage between $15 million and $20 million. Actual damage has yet to be determined on the campus where every building was affected by the flood.
What we haven’t seen among the people filing claims against the city is South Superior addresses.
Maybe the residents of South Superior have thrown up their hands after a bitter battle with the city that never gave them justice at taxpayer expense.
Or maybe, and quite probably, Jusula has the perfect solution that could spare taxpayers the phenomenal expense of making reparations to a public university — a campus that’s seen millions in investment damaged and drove FEMA’s visit this week when city damage estimates for city infrastructure were half of what they are today after one of our solutions to flooding proved damaged.