January 10, 2002 [updated January 19]
I have received many letters from residents who are downstream from the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter site at 159th and Metcalf in Overland Park, KS. They speak about the severe problems already occuring along the Negro Creek waterway. Residents have provided documentation including photos, municipal confirmation of the problems, and excerpts from a mult-year study conducted by Johnson County in concert with the cities of Overland Park and Leawood. This study is just now being wrapped up and recommends millions of dollars in projects to address the problems. [On 1/13 I added the draft Executive Summary from this study.]
This is a summary of the information I have received to date.
Recognition By Authorities Of On-Site Water Issues
The Johnson County South Coalition (JCSC) was the first to bring to the attention of Overland Park that there were water issues on the property. Since this occured so close to the final vote on the issue, the Governing Body chose to move ahead with the project and depend on the Army Corps of Engineers and future technical water studies to resolve the problems.
Here is documentation on this I have published:
Issues brought up and documented by residents along Negro Creek downstream from the proposed Wal-Mart SuperCenter include silting, erosion, flooding, and pollution. No studies have yet been made of impacts on aquatic wildlife, though of course neighbors are familiar with the usual assortment of frogs, snakes, geese, fish, turtles, ducks, crawdads, etc. who depend on the ponds and streams in the area. One of the attractions of living here is that you and your kids can see this wildlife. An Overland Park resident raises the question of whether all the underground streams in the area should be taken into account. This selection of letters (there were others, also) come from five different neighborhoods in both Leawood and Overland Park.
Blue River Watershed Study - Executive Summary
The Blue River Watershed Study was commissioned by Johnson County in February, 1999, and is now nearing completion, with public meetings to be scheduled in the next few months. The study includes Negro Creek. Johnson County worked with both Overland Park and Leawood to develop proposals on how to handle the water related problems of Negro Creek and other Blue River waterhsheds. The attached draft Executive Summary estimates that over $10 million would be needed to complete the 4 recommended projects along Negro Creek.
[The copy obtained by NeighborhoodNet was on paper and was converted to digital format using Optical Character Recognition software, then converted to web page format. Hence, there are various formatting errors not contained in the hard copy.]
If you have additional information related to the water issue either on the proposed Wal-Mart site itself or downstream from the site, it would be valuable to send a letter to Mr. Doug Berka, email@example.com, of the Army Corp Of Engineers, with copies to others involved, including the EPA, cities of Leawood and Overland Park, etc. An email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org will automatically be directed to Mr. Berka and these and other agencies. A copy will go to NeighborhoodNet also (I do not publish letters or personal information without the permission of the author).