Dear Rocky Ripple Resident,
The Rocky Ripple Town Council strives to keep everyone informed of what is going on with regard to town council activities. Updates are provided at monthly Rocky Ripple Town Council meetings on the second Tuesday of each month, and with detailed minutes of each meeting posted on the town’s website (www.rockyripple.in.gov). E-blasts with important updates are also distributed to those of you that are signed up to receive them. As we had major changes in the proposed flood protection plan for Rocky Ripple in 2022, we wanted to take the opportunity to summarize what happened in 2022 and what we expect to happen in 2023. We also want to provide updates and commentary on other Rocky Ripple town actions and initiatives. Please feel free to contact us with any questions and/or if you would like to discuss anything contained in this summary.
Megan Hulland Mandy Redmond Randy Sanders
Contained in this summary are the following topics:
- Flood Protection Update: A lookback at 2022 activity and a look forward to key 2023 dates.
- Proposed New Town Hall – Brainstorming sessions to begin Feb. 4th: Join us at town hall on Saturday, February 4th from 9:30am-11:30am for a town hall brainstorming session.
- Update on installation of City Sewers in Rocky Ripple: Citizens Energy Group (CEG) now anticipates construction of sewers in Rocky Ripple to begin in late March/early April 2023.
- New Police Car/New Snow Removal Equipment
- Road Maintenance/Paving
- Elections for Rocky Ripple Town Council Positions Will Occur in 2023
- Annual Indy Runners 10K, Bulldog Jog 5K Will Go Through Rocky Ripple in 2023; Discounted Registrations available for Rocky Ripplers
- Status Update on Warfleigh/Indy North Floodwall FEMA Certification
Flood Protection Update
The year 2022 was a year of frustration for the Rocky Ripple Town Council with regard to the flood protection plan negotiated and agreed to with the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) over the previous six years. At the beginning of 2022, Rocky Ripple Town Council and town residents were reeling from finding out from DPW on December 8, 2021 that the Rocky Ripple floodwall initiative would need to be reduced by $20 million dollars and that this would involve switching from I and T walls in some places and replacing with earthen levee. We later learned the specifics of the revised plan, which would require that 13 homes and the town hall along the river be demolished.
Also, although the Rocky Ripple Town Council had submitted requested changes to the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the project drafted by DPW in February, 2021, an updated version of the MOA was not received by the town council until December 23, 2021 without any of the changes that Rocky Ripple had submitted incorporated into the revised document.
DPW held individual meetings with Rocky Ripple Town Councilors in January to inform them that 13 homes would need to be demolished with the revised flood plan and advised that other options had been considered but were not feasible to meet the budgetary requirements. DPW then worked with the Rocky Ripple Town Council to schedule individual meetings with homeowners that were affected. All meetings were held prior to a public meeting held on February 9, 2022 at the Town Hall where DPW shared a presentation of the revised plan, followed by a question and answer session. On 04-Mar-2022, the Rocky Ripple Town Council distributed a communication regarding the change in plans to all Rocky Ripple residents. The communication stated that the Rocky Ripple Town Council continues to support rebuilding and improving of our river levee as a first priority and that local floodwall options outlined in the previously enacted MOU between DPW and the town are best path. The communication also stated that the Town Council has not at this time agreed to move forward with this revised plan and that further information from DPW is required in order for an informed decision to be made.
Additional meetings between Town Councilors and DPW occurred during March and April. In April, DPW stated they would not be moving forward with the 60% design of the project (originally expected by September, 2022) unless the Rocky Ripple Town Council agreed to proceed. Dan Parker, Director of DPW, attended the May 10, 2022 to answer remaining Town Council questions regarding the floodwall project in order for the vote on whether to proceed with completion of design activities. He explained that completion of design activities would allow for DPW to obtain Build Operate Transfer cost estimates from contractors that would be hired to construct the project so that a guaranteed maximum price could be established. Proceeding to 60% design would also answer specific questions Town Councilors and residents had on the project that would allow for a final decision as to whether to proceed with the project. A vote was taken and two councilors (Redmond and Sanders) voted yes to proceed, while one councilor (Hulland) voted no. DPW was subsequently informed of the majority vote to proceed.
During June through October, DPW worked on the 60% design. In July, 2022, DPW was made aware that they did not receive the $25M BRIC grant from FEMA they had applied for; thus this funding would have to be financed by the construction company that would construct the floodwall. Also in July 2022, the Rocky Ripple Town Council was informed by DPW that the MOU between Butler University, DPW and the Town of Rocky Ripple would not be completed, but that separate agreements with Butler University and with Rocky Ripple would be pursued. Town Councilors also learned that the new agreement between Rocky Ripple and the City of Indianapolis would be designated an Interlocal Agreement (ILA).
A relocation specialist was dispatched to work with homeowners that would be displaced by construction of the floodwall. DPW Director Parker informed Rocky Ripple Town Council that monthly floodwall update meetings would be cancelled until 60% design is completed. Although continually requested by the Rocky Ripple Town Council, no further monthly floodwall update meetings were agreed to by DPW during the remainder of 2022. In November 2022, DPW informed the Rocky Ripple Town Council that 60% design was complete and in the process of being approved internally at DPW and that DPW would schedule its own meeting to provide associated updates to Rocky Ripple residents. The meeting was subsequently scheduled and held on 16-Nov-2022 at the Riviera Club.
A draft of the Interlocal Agreement was provided to the Rocky Ripple Town Council by DPW on the afternoon prior to the 16-Nov-2022 meeting. The draft referenced several Exhibits that were not complete.
In June, 2022 the Rocky Ripple Town Council began sourcing additional Legal Counsel versed in the issues of government projects similar to the floodwall project and eminent domain issues; funding for the counsel was approved in July, 2022 and a representation agreement with Yasmin Stump Law group was enacted on 30-Sep-2022. Upon receipt of the Interlocal Agreement in November, 2022, the Rocky Ripple Town Council began discussing it with the town’s Legal Counsel. Revised wording for the Agreement remains in progress with suggested changes targeted to be forwarded to DPW in February, 2023.
One meeting to answer questions regarding the revised floodwall drawings presented at the 16-Nov-2022 was held between DPW and Rocky Ripple Town Councilors on 19-Dec-2022, but the meeting was not enough time to cover all revised drawings. As of 21-Jan-2023, Rocky Ripple Town Councilors continue to follow-up on meeting requests to obtain specific detailed information for the floodwall from DPW, but no additional meetings have been agreed to by DPW to date. In the meantime, Town Councilors are continuing to work with the town’s Legal Counsel on proposed changes to the Interlocal Agreement and will be calling public meetings to discuss requirements for a new town hall location and development of specifications for the new hall so that the associated Exhibit in the interlocal agreement can be drafted and provided to DPW.
Please note that the Rocky Ripple Town Council will not agree to proceed with the floodwall project and any related floodworks construction until the 60% design questions are answered and a signed Interlocal Agreement with DPW is in place. The Town Council has also committed to holding a town-wide poll to gage residential alignment on DPW’s updated design, which has changed considerably since the 2017 survey conducted by the prior Town Council. A committee has been formed to this end with the intent of drafting a fact sheet for distribution and for helping get the word out about the poll.
Proposed New Town Hall – Brainstorming sessions to begin Feb. 4th
Based upon the revised floodwall plan with DPW’s determination that the current town hall would need to be demolished, DPW proposed that a new town hall building be constructed as part of the floodwall project. It was noted that the new town hall could be constructed to meet current requirements for building in the flood plain (ie, raised construction) and that underlying space could later be enclosed once FEMA certification for the floodwall project and lifting of flood plain construction restrictions occurred. DPW provided a rendering of what the new town hall could look like if it were placed in Hohlt Park, but left determination of where the new town hall should be built and proposed specifications up to the Rocky Ripple Town Council. Completed specifications are to be included as an Exhibit attached to the Interlocal Agreement that is under development.
Although a new town hall in a different location is not the choice the Rocky Ripple Town Council would have pursued had it not been for the revised flood protection plan, building a new town hall will allow for the town to meet a statewide mandate that our facility become ADA compliant. At a yet to be determined date, Rocky Ripple will be required to be ADA compliant in order to obtain continued grants/funds from the state of Indiana. This will need to be addressed whether or not the floodwall project is completed.
In order to provide information to DPW for completion of the Interlocal Agreement Exhibit, the Rocky Ripple Town Council will hold several public brainstorming sessions to develop the new town hall specifications and obtain input into new location proposals. The first of these sessions is scheduled to occur on Saturday, 04-Feb-2022 from 9:30 to 11:30 am at the town hall. Everyone is invited to participate and a light breakfast will be included. (Thanks to the Rocky Ripple Community Association for helping provide this!) Please bring and share your vision for our future to this working meeting!!
Update on Installation of City Sewers in Rocky Ripple
Throughout 2022, Citizens Energy Group (CEG), which has responsibility for the City of Indianapolis STEP (Septic Tank Elimination Program) initiative, kept in touch with the Rocky Ripple Town Council and stated that sewers were planned to be installed concurrently with the building of the Rocky Ripple floodwall. In October 2022, it was confirmed with CEG that sewers would be installed whether or not the Rocky Ripple floodwall would be completed. Per information just obtained from CEG on 19-Jan-2023, they are planning to start construction of sewers in Rocky Ripple in late March/early April 2023. They plan to send outreach materials to affected residents in January and will have an outreach meeting a few weeks after that – the location and date of the meeting is yet to be determined.
CEG is still working on the construction sequencing with their contractor, but the first homes to be served will be those along Riverview Drive and 54th Street (those that could be impacted by the levee) and then working on the interior portions. CEG is working to get approval to complete the project in 2023, but a portion may not be able to be completed until 2024.
The Rocky Ripple Town Council will share any additional information received on this.
New Police Car/New Snow Removal Equipment
Through town wide fundraising efforts and the federal government American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) funds received, the Rocky Ripple Town Council was able to source, purchase and have delivered a new 2022 Dodge Charger police cruiser in February 2022. Special thanks to Town Marshal/Town Manager Mike Kiefer for coordinating the purchase activities. The old police car, a 2010 Dodge Charger sedan with 163,543 miles on it, is currently listed for sale on the government surplus auction site. Bids will be accepted until 09-Feb-2023. Here is the link to the auction information: 2010 Dodge Charger Sedan 4-DR – govdeals.com. A new truck and snow plow have also been sourced and are currently on order. It is hoped that the new equipment will arrive in 2023.
Continued grants that cover 75% of paving costs through the state of Indiana’s Community Crossings Matching Grant (CCMG) Program allowed for additional streets to be repaved during 2022. Streets that were repaved included: Ripple Road – 530 Ripple Road to 54th Street, 51st Street between Riverview and Annette, Byram Avenue and Clarendon Road from 52nd to 53rd, Crown Street from 51st to 52nd, Riverview from 5140 Riverview to 52nd Street.
For 2023, Town Manager Kiefer is working to submit the grant application for repaving of the following streets: Clarendon Road from 53rd to 54th, Crown Street from 52nd to 53rd, Patterson Street and Annette Street from 51stto 52nd.
Elections for Rocky Ripple Town Council Positions Will Occur in 2023
Elections for Rocky Ripple Town Council positions (3 town councilors and 1 clerk/treasurer) will occur on November 7, 2023. The associated primary election is scheduled for May 2, 2023. The partisan filing deadline for this election is February 3, 2023, and the filing deadline for independents, write-ins, and those nominated by convention is July 15, 2023.
Please consider running for Rocky Ripple Town Council If you are a current Rocky Ripple resident that wants to contribute to local government and shape the future of our strong, quirky but wonderful, little place in the universe. The town cannot continue without people willing to take on these roles. Please feel free to contact any member of the current Town Council for more information on what the positions entail, or with any questions. We need you!
Annual Indy Runners 10K, Bulldog Jog 5K Will Go Through Rocky Ripple in 2023; Discounted Registrations available for Rocky Ripplers
These annual runs will occur on Saturday, April 22, 2023 beginning at 8 am and go through Rocky Ripple as there is construction blocking the normal course along Michigan Road this year. No streets will be blocked during the runs; motorists will just be sharing roads with the runners. The 5K and 10K begin at 8 am. Rocky Ripplers are encouraged to participate in the run or Bulldog Jog or cheer the runners on during the runs. More information and registration information can be found at butler.edu/bulldogjog. Use code RockyDawgs2023 to obtain 10% off of registration for the 5 or 10 K runs.
Status Update on Warfleigh/Indy North Floodwall FEMA Certification
Rocky Ripple Town Councilor Redmond attended a public virtual open house hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on January 12, 2023. The meeting was primarily to introduce Marion County residents to their updated flood maps for the following areas: Downtown, Near Westside, Eagledale and the Town of Speedway. However, The United States Army Corp of Engineers responded to a request for information on the status of the Warfleigh/Indy North Floodworks project FEMA certification status as follows: “We have completed the construction of the project and have since provided it over to the City of Indianapolis for operation and maintenance. The documentation has been provided to FEMA for their review and ultimately their approval. We are 58 days into their 90-day review.”
It was further explained that additional actions are required once the 90-day FEMA review is complete. Please note that an overview of the process is included here to make Rocky Ripple residents aware of the steps and associated time requirements for receiving a Letter of Map Revision (“LOMR”) from FEMA, which then allows for mandated flood insurance requirements to be lifted.
Within 90 days of receiving a request (for map revision), FEMA will provide the requester and the community either a Letter of Map Revision (“LOMR”), Conditional Letter of Map Revision (“CLOMR”), comments based on their review, or notification that additional time is needed for reviewing/processing the request. When FEMA provides review comments, the applicant must adequately address all of the comments within 90 days. Once FEMA’s review is complete and all review comments have been adequately addressed, FEMA will issue a LOMR to the affected communities and provide copies to the requester. LOMRs which result in changes to regulatory flood hazard information are then subject to a statutory 90-day appeal period. FEMA publishes a notice of the appeal period in the local newspaper. This notice is published twice, shortly after the LOMR is issued. The 90-appeal period commences on the date of the second newspaper publication. LOMRs receiving no valid appeals will typically become effective approximately 4.5 months after issuance (120 days after the second newspaper publication).
Additional information can be found at the following link: https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/mt-2_requests_guidance_dec_2020.pdf