MERRIAM, KS - Located in Eastern Kansas, just south of Kansas City, Johnson County is one of the more populated counties in the State and has flooding and flash flooding problems from Turkey Creek, Indian Creek, Rock Creek, and Brush Creek. The county has been actively working to alleviate the dangers associated with flooding and to provide protection for their citizens and reduce property losses. Johnson County applied for grant funds to assist the City of Merriam in removing families from the 100-year floodplain.
The City of Merriam has experienced serious flooding from Turkey Creek in 1914, 1935, 1958, 1961, 1977, 1983, and 1993. In 1977 the damages that occurred along Turkey Creek totaled $8.3 million. During the July 10, 1993, flooding event up to 10 inches of rain fell over the Metropolitan area. Overall damages to residences and businesses in the Merriam area was $3.3 million.
Johnson County received funding from FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and the Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to acquire four residential structures and one vacant lot. The county transferred the acquired properties along Turkey Creek to the City of Merriam. All of the structures were demolished and cleared; the land was returned to open space.
This project has been quite an achievement for Johnson County and the City of Merriam by removing families from harm's way. During the most recent flooding event in 1998, the acquired structures would have been inundated by an average of 4 to 6 feet of water and sustained an estimated $110,500 in structural damages. This does not include the financial costs of warning, rescue, evacuation, temporary housing, or loss of personal property.