DPW moves ahead with levee project for Rocky Ripple

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Department of Public Works says its design plan for the $80 million levee will be 90% complete by January, and construction could start later in the new year.

The current levee was built in the 1930s and does not meet federal standards.

“Whatever is currently there in existence was constructed, standards may have changed. Certainty now when we think of what a hundred year flood might be for the town of Rocky Ripple, we believe the structure in place would not provide that amount of protection,” said DPW Spokesperson Ben Easley.

Easley said the city will need to purchase a dozen homes or more through eminent domain to make room for the project.

“I would say that standard practice is usually getting two different appraisals, and finding the average of those two, so that we know we are correctly compensating folks for the land we are acquiring,” Easley said.

The appraisal process could begin this month.

Dozens of residents voiced opposition to the project during a town hall meeting Wednesday night.

“We have been going through the motions because they don’t listen to what we are saying, we have been going through the motions ever since this has started,” said Mike Mooney, who has lived in Rocky Ripple for 32 years.

He believes the project can be done without destroying homes.

“We have had 30 years of dealing with the city of Indianapolis, and we have always said if you destroy homes, we are not in the ball game,” Mooney said.

The project will be funded from the Marion County Stormwater Maintenance Fund, and an increment of revenue from property taxes on Rocky Ripple homes.