FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Vernice Harrell was tired of all the standing water in her streets whenever it rained.
So as President of her neighborhood, she called the city.
"We have overflowing water in our subdivision, and we’ve been having that problem for years, and they finally decided to take care of it," Harrell said.
The Colonial Heritage neighborhood will be one of the focuses of the Hessen Cassel stormwater improvement project.
Mayor Tom Henry says this is just the latest step in the $6 million plan, affecting roughly 2,300 houses and 70 businesses.
"We’re continuously trying to improve water flow away from homes. We’ve created a new wetlands here," Henry said.
By creating ditches and paths for the water to flow, the city hopes to keep standing water out of neighborhoods, while also limiting pollution in local rivers.
"Creating a bio-area so a lot of the contaminants will be staying in the ground before the water actually goes into the Maumee," Henry said. "So we’re trying several different approaches, trying to accept our responsibility."
Henry says part of that responsibility is to Fort Wayne’s wildlife as well.
"We invite wildlife. A lot of cities have driven them away," Henry said. "We want to make sure that we have certain portions of this town where it serves a multi-purpose, not only for drainage but we also now have a sanctuary for animals who want to call it home."
And for the humans who currently call this area home, they won’t be left out to dry.
The city plans to expand sidewalks and build a walking trail through the expanded wetlands.
"I think it’s a great idea myself. Because I walk three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, when it don’t rain," Harrell said. "A walking path is good."
The city planned to break ground on the project Wednesday morning, but postponed construction due to rain.
The Great Lakes Commission, Department of Natural Resources, and City Utilities are also helping fund and plan the project.