Providence residents seek help with flooding concerns from city, state

At first glance, it appears that the flooding of Spring Creek is under control in Providence, but take a look behind Meg Erekson’s house on the corner of Center Street and 300 East and a different story unfolds.”This has been a nightmare week,” Erekson said.Excess water from Spring Creek has begun crossing over the road on Center Street, between 200 and 300 East, but thanks to walls made of 3-4 sandbags piled high the water finds its way back to the creek on the other side of the street. The real problem lies in Erekson’s backyard and in the yards of her neighbors along 300 East.Erekson’s back property is divided by Spring Creek, which is normally only a few feet wide. Around 4 a.m. Monday, spillover from across the road flooded her back yard and washed out her neighbor’s driveway. Two houses down from Erekson, the driveway looks like a river and the house’s renters, not knowing what to do, packed up and left.”We about lost our chicken coop,” Erekson said.As Spring Creek water levels continue to rise, the creek gets wider and more powerful, crumbling the banks of the creek and taking debris with it. In Erekson’s backyard, the creek has piled rocks and other sediment debris creating a small island in the middle of the water and causing the creek to widen as it carves its path.Erekson said she has asked the city for help dredging the bottom of the creek, to get rid of the debris and make room for more water.”I’ve been begging the city for help for a while now,” she said.Skarlet Bankhead, Providence City administrator, said Providence has provided residents with sandbags and the sand to fill it with. It’s up to the residents to fill and position the bags. Bankhead said the creek is technically state property, and the city would have to have the state’s permission in order to dredge the bottom.Arlene Cravalho owns the property next to Erekson to the north. She said she called the state, who told her the city was free to dredge if necessary. Cache Valley Daily was unable to reach a Utah Division of Water Rights representative for confirmation.Cravalho and Erekson agree that sandbags can only do so much and without more help, come nightfall when the day’s snow pack runoff water hits the valley’s waterways, Spring Creek will break through the sandbag walls and create problems for more houses in the area.More water means more crumbling earth for Erekson, who said she worries the erosion will damage her chicken coop or even her garage.”Frankly, regardless of whoever can help us, we just need help,” Erekson said.Farther north, Savannah’s BBQ in Providence is recovering from flooding. Water had seeped inside the restaurant Saturday at 3 a.m., and the kitchen was covered in 4 inches of water. The city brought in water pumps, and the kitchen was cleared of flood water. The restaurant is still surrounded by water on the outside, but because of water pumps and sandbags the interior is dry except for a little water seeping in through the front door.The restaurant, whose owners have only owned the place for 7 months, sustained little permanent damage. Once the water can be kept out of the front doorway, the kitchen will be cleaned and Savannah’s BBQ’s doors will be reopened for business. – rachel@cvdaily.com

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