Flooding season is here; soggy parks can be expected

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By Shane Jones
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

The Looking Glass Riverside park located in DeWitt Township Monday afternoon. Photo by Shane Jones

The Looking Glass Riverside park located in DeWitt Township Monday afternoon. Photo by Shane Jones

DEWITT — No more sliding cars or shoveling driveways! Winter is finally coming to an end and although there were times of hazardous weather, it has been a very calm winter in Michigan.

Now with the change to spring and warmer weather, there has been more rain.

As many citizens of DeWitt probably know, during the early months of spring, the Looking Glass River will sometimes flood and have an effect on some of the parks in DeWitt such as the Riverside Park, located at 405 S. Bridge St. and also the Looking Glass Riverside Park located on 3899 W. Herbison Road in DeWitt Township.

According to Rodney Taylor, DeWitt Township Manager, whenever the Riverside Park floods then the Looking Glass Riverside Park most likely has too. Over the weekend the rain caused flooding in both parks that reached both parks and from the looks of it the DeWitt Township park to the brunt of it.

Usually, the Looking Glass River will stay at a high flood stage level for a month and a half and then it will slowly go down.

“Traditionally flooding happens around early spring and the river stays at a high flood level for about a month and a half and then it will slowly recede. Usually by late summer or early fall, the river is down,” Taylor said.

Most parks are usually built on the land around rivers because there isn’t much else to use the land for, and homes won’t be built that close to rivers for the reason of flooding.

So, what happens once the river floods and some areas of the park can’t be used?

There is one answer: nothing.

“I wish there was something we could do because we would do it. We keep an eye out for large debris and if there is some in the river we try to get it out before it gets caught on the bridge that is in our downtown area,” City Administrator Dan Coss said.

Riverside Park located in the downtown area of DeWitt. Photo by Shane Jones

Riverside Park located in the downtown area of DeWitt. Photo by Shane Jones

In DeWitt there are some people who enjoy when the Looking Glass River floods. Safe to say it actually may add a little more incentive to go out to the parks. Even when the river floods, people can be seen canoeing and kayaking, making the best out of a bad situation sometimes.

“People love to visit the park during this time because of the wildlife coming onto the areas that flooded making it easier to be seen. Kids will be there with nets trying to catch fish,” Coss said

As always dealing with hazardous weather, the main focus is to be cautious and safe. Keeping an eye out on young children if they are playing or are starting to get closer and closer to the what may seem as the bank of the river, might actually turn into the river and during this time the river current is moving pretty fast.

There are homes that are built close to the river but they are no homes on stilts because even though there are floods from time to time, the threat of there being that much water to reach the homes is only a possibility. If it happens the city is ready for it.

“We do have things in place, like sandbags for citizens and their homes if the water is starting to get too close to their homes, but for the river we kind of let it go,” Coss said

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