Torrential rains flood parts of park, city’s golf course

Published 4:56 pm Monday, June 14, 2004

By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Thanks to Saturday morning's torrential rain, parts of Riverfront Park in Niles, the Plym Park golf course and other low-lying areas of the city are flooded.
The rains and resulting rising, swiftly-flowing St. Joseph River, caused the boat dock at Riverfront Park to break way from its station Saturday, sending it floating freely downriver.
However, members of the Niles City Fire Department's river rescue team were able to retrieve it and have secured it downriver until such a time as it can be safely returned to the park, said Neil Coulston, Niles Public Works director.
Coulston said the National Weather Service predicts the river will crest sometime tonight, about a half a foot or so above flood stage in Niles. Water levels will begin dropping soon after that crest, he said.
Coulston said this morning the water level at the park was up to the dock area and the riverfront trail under both bridges -- at Broadway and Main streets -- is under water.
City crews have placed caution tape in the riverfront trail area, but Coulston urged residents to stay clear of the area until the floodwater subsides.
Plym Park golf course is flooded, too.
The wet weather is also a problem for the city because of the recent application of liquid calcium chloride on the city's gravel roads, intended to keep the dust level down on those roads.
The rainy weather has also meant city street department crews are busy handling washed out areas of gravel roads, as well as washed out shoulders on paved roadways.
Terry Benish, manager at the city's wastewater treatment plant, said Niles received about 2.25 inches of rainfall in a very short period of time during the early morning hours of Saturday.
The rainfall caused an overflow from the wastewater treatment plant's retention basin into the St. Joseph River, Benish said.
The work currently under way in downtown Niles to separate the sanitary sewer from the storm sewer should go a long way toward remedying overflows during heavy rains, Benish said.
Unfortunately, weather forecasters are calling for more stormy weather this afternoon and tonight, some possibly strong.
Tuesday's forecast calls for some relief from the rain, partly to mostly sunny and warm, with a high of 82.