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City completes Valleybrook tornado debris cleanup

The City of Kansas, Mo., has completed cleanup of debris from a private residential area left by the tornado on May 4, 2003. About 900 cubic yards of tornado debris were removed from the Valleybrook neighborhood, near 60th and North Brighton. A contractor was hired by the Water Services Department to remove the debris.

The Valleybrook neighborhood was hit particularly hard by the tornado. As a result, many homes were destroyed and a tributary of Shoal Creek that runs through the neighborhood became congested with debris.

Although the debris was on private property, an extensive assessment by the City concluded that the $90,000 cost to remove the debris and restore the affected stream was outweighed by the benefits. Without an appropriate cleanup and restoration, the area, including the connecting waterways, would be subject to future flooding and maintenance problems.

The waterway is privately owned by the residents and was not eligible for assistance from FEMA and was not part of the Water Services Department’s routine maintenance area. The residents could not afford to remove the debris and restore the waterway.

An application for funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Agriculture Department has been submitted on behalf of the Valleybrook neighborhood to refund the City for the cleanup and restoration costs.

“We are optimistic that the City will receive reimbursement by the federal government for the cost of the cleanup,” City Manager Wayne Cauthen said. “We believe the work was necessary to prevent flooding and related problems that would cost the City more money in the long run,” Cauthen added.

Restoration to the creek included repairing any shoreline damaged by the tornado or cleanup process, and reseeding where needed. In addition, private property damaged while being used to access the creek was sodded.

"I am delighted that the residents of Valleybrook finally have some restoration of their neighborhood after such a devastating event. We as a City must pull together after natural disasters and assist in restoring our surroundings," said Councilwoman Deb Hermann, 1st District-at-Large.

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