Big Walnut’s Waters Continue To Rise, Threatening Neighborhood

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The waters of Big Walnut Creek have flooded Maudie McCorkle's backyard in the Gould Park neighborhood of northeast Columbus
The waters of Big Walnut Creek have flooded Maudie McCorkle's backyard in the Gould Park neighborhood of northeast Columbus

Heavy rains around Ohio are causing flooding in some parts of the state. In the Columbus area, Big Walnut Creek has overflowed its banks in a few areas. The flood waters are creeping toward homes in the Gould Park Neighborhood.

On the deck of the Creekside Restaurant in Gahanna Carol Gilkerson stands at the railing above Big Walnut Creek. She says the creek is usually knee-deep at best. But now, she says, it must be at least 20 feet deep. The sight of the brown, swirling waters brings back unpleasant memories.

“In 2005 I lost my home in Gould Park to this same creek. It flooded really bad. And we lost our home; lost everything there; a lot of sad memories,” Gilkerson says.

Located north of Gahanna inside the Columbus city limits, Gould Park is tucked in between several up-scale subdivisions. Some of the neighborhood’s older, fading frame houses back right up to the banks of Big Walnut, a creek that’s fed from the Hoover dam and reservoir about four miles upstream. Water from the reservoir is causing the flooding. And that worries resident Maudie McCorkle.

“Do you think this might get dangerous?” asks McCorkle.

Most of McCorkle’s backyard is underwater. Neighbors are checking on one another as the flooding continues.

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“We’re standing on the back deck of Maudie McCorkle’s place and it’s about six feet from the back deck,” says Michael Oberdier. “So we have a lot of water coming through here.”

Michael Oberdier is McCorkle’s next door neighbor. He keeps an eye on the elderly widow. Oberdier says that city and county officials are keeping an eye on Gould Park.

“I talked to the police department earlier and they notified us that they’re going to possibly have an evacuation. Homeland Security was here yesterday; a battalion chief of the fire department was here and a couple of police officers, so they’re watching it closely,” Oberdier says.

An exhausted Oberdier says he and the neighbors have been preparing for higher water.

“We’ve just been moving things out of garages so they won’t get flooded. So we’re kind of use to this around here and we don’t like it but it’s a beautiful area around here and worth putting up with this to be around nature. The wildlife is amazing around here. It’s like you’re in the country,” Oberdier says.

Several subdivisions farther north, Amanda Leahy has seen land behind her home flooded but not severely.

“When we moved in about seven or eight years ago I think it was winter and a lot of snow melted and it got really flooded and I remember the water sort of creeping up after they released the dam but it never reached our home,” Leahy says.

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