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A ‘pretty’ solution to a bad problem: Jeffersonville's newest park sits atop remedy for flooding

Two large metal umbrellas stand in the foreground, atop concrete seating areas. In the distance, a walking path, grass and trees are visible.
Morgan Watkins
Falls Landing is a new park in Jeffersonville. Beneath it, the city installed retention tanks to prevent flooding. The park's large umbrellas will be filled in with stained glass.

Jeffersonville just opened Falls Landing, a new park that sits atop big water retention tanks that are meant to solve local flooding problems.

Falls Landing had its official debut last weekend. It covers a couple of acres between Indiana and Ohio avenues and Ninth Street.

“Ever since I was a little boy, and probably decades before, this area of the city has always been the most difficult as far as handling flooding,” said Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore, who grew up in the city he now leads. “It’s basically a bowl, and it’s at the entrance into the city. A lot of businesses have been adversely impacted over the last 100 years.”

How to reduce local flooding, as well as how to resolve sewage issues identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, drew debate over time. One major proposal involved building a canal, but Moore, who’s a Republican, opposed that plan as overly expensive. He credits that as a key reason he first got elected mayor in 2011.

In the end, the city took a number of steps to manage the flooding and sewage problems. Moore said they replaced sewer pipes, set up new drainage lines and installed underground retention tanks that can hold up to 1.4 million gallons of water.

Those tanks are beneath what is now Falls Landing.

When it storms, Moore said water runoff will flow into the tanks, and then it will slowly be released through various channels later on to avoid flooding.

“So when you’re standing on this beautiful new park … below your feet are these massive pipes and tanks that all of this water is running to,” he said.

Falls Landing cost over $2 million to develop, Moore told LPM News. The park features huge metal umbrellas, which will be filled in with stained glass in the spring. Other art installations will be added to the park, too. And 74 newly planted trees already are spread across the space.

“It’s just a beautiful front-door entrance into our city,” he said. “We took a bad problem and we fixed it and we made it pretty, and I’m just really proud of it.”

Moore described the burgeoning park as a gateway to Jeffersonville’s NoCo Arts and Cultural District. It’s also close to The Depot.

The mayor envisions hosting art festivals at Falls Landing.

“We've gained a lot of popularity as being a creative, imaginative city that embraces art,” he said. “And I think it’s, you know, made us quite popular to a whole new set of people.”

Morgan is LPM's health & environment reporter. Email Morgan at mwatkins@lpm.org.

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