Flood management plans rile Rocky Ripple

See details maps in the Corps Draft Environmental Impact Statement for its Indianapolis North Flood Damage Reduction Project (Phase 3B).

A Rocky Ripple residents' movement is underway, and it is seeking all the help it can possibly get.

Headed up by community advocate Kate Bullis, the group - officially titled Rocky Ripple for Flood Protection - is urging citizens to action regarding the floodwall controversy currently spawning in near-north Indianapolis. They'll be spreading awareness through personal outreach and demonstrations throughout the month of August.

Why all the fuss? The Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) recently published a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Survey that outlines potential plans to realign the downstream section of the Indianapolis North floodwall. To the dismay of many Rocky Ripple community members, two of the proposed action plans offer no protection for their neighborhood were the White River to flood, and one proposed alignment "walls Rocky Ripple into the flood plain," according to a handout provided at a community meeting held at the Indianapolis Art Center on Aug. 1.

That handout also references "proposed sandbag closures of the 52nd and 53rd Street bridges [over the Indianapolis Water Co. Canal]," that would "prevent any and all traffic into and out of Rocky Ripple."

Many residents at the meeting voiced their concerns about becoming trapped and inaccessible to emergency vehicles in the event of a flood.

Leading up to a community demonstration on Aug. 18, Rocky Ripple for Flood Protection plans to make their presence known at the Broad Ripple Farmers Market and other public venues. If you've see a person or two dressed as a sandbag surrounded by a group handing out fliers and touting the slogan "Community Doesn't Stop at the Bridge," you've found them.

The main event on the 18th will begin at 11 a.m. at Hohlt Park in Rocky Ripple. The group is inviting food trucks to park in the area and offer refreshment for the crowd, since no one wants to go hungry or un-hydrated while practicing their right to organize. At noon, demonstrators will start to march to the 53rd St. bridge for the official "lie-down" demonstration at 1 p.m., where you can literally lie down in the street with the group for an aerial photo opportunity.

At 5 p.m., Nancy Barton and Bob Sander are hosting a pitch-in dinner at Hohlt Park, which is also open to anyone.

According to Bullis, the goal of the event is to urge Indianapolis citizens to communicate their opinion of the project proposals to ACE and Indianapolis officials.

"We are a community that supports Indianapolis. We want Indianapolis to support us!" she said.

Upcoming opportunities to comment include: A public hearing at Meridian St. United Methodist Church on Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. and sending written comments to ACE until the Aug. 31, 2012, deadline.