Kalamazoo businesses still repair from flooding; work to prevent future damage

Kalamazoo businesses still repair from flooding; work to prevent future damage.{ } File of flooding WWMT.

One month ago a weekend of heavy rains flooded several communities across West Michigan and some Kalamazoo businesses are still recovering from the impacts of the high waters.

The damage even has some companies on Crosstown Parkway considering moving away and Newschannel 3's Franque Thompson spoke with one business owner about the concerns over future flooding.

VanderSalm's Flower Shop and Garden Center saw the worst flooding in store history from those rains.

The owner said moving locations is his last resort, but said it's getting too expensive to make repairs and keep the high waters out.

John VanderSalm, VanderSalm's owner, said, “My great grandfather bought this land back before the turn of the century. We became a flower shop in 1910.”

VanderSalm had plans of expanding on the family land instead of moving, but said flooding is becoming a problem.

He said, “So, we had to replace a hot water heater, both of these compressors are shot.”

VanderSalm said the heavy rains cost the shop thousands of dollars in equipment

He said, “We have one more cooling compressor to replace. Those compressors run all of our flower coolers, along with a bulb cooler that we have in the basement.”

The water line from flooding after those heavy rains marks a height on the walls taller than 5 foot 10 inches.

VanderSalm said, “We're in the process of having a flood fence, if you will, designed to go on our ramp that leads to our basement so that at least we can keep from having our basement flood every time we get a hard rain.”

Hard rain he said spills inside his property because the city's infrastructure surrounding his shop can't handle the overflow.

He said, “These streams need a lot of maintenance. They're full of silt, they haven't been cleaned out in years.”

They are expensive repairs VanderSalm hopes the city will consider, so his shop can stay in the location his family started several generations ago.

City leaders said they're working to apply for federal programs regarding flood options, including the city buying properties in legally defined flood plains from an owner who would sell.

The city would then decide how the land should be used.