Many Wornall business owners don't have flood insurance

Premiums too high in flood zone
Posted at 7:27 PM, Jul 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-27 20:27:06-04

While business owners clean up the damage left behind from Wednesday's storms, many will have to pay out of their own pockets to rebuild.

Several business owners either can't get flood insurance or can't afford the premiums due to the buildings being located in a flood zone.

Charles Johnson said his mother-in-law, who owns a salon in the area, hopes the costs of repairs are cheaper than paying for insurance.

"If you can get insurance, it's extremely high. The premiums are, say, $3,000 a month," Johnson said. "You know how many people's hair you gotta cut for $3,000 a month?"

For former business owner Melanie Greenawalt, the flood is deja vu. She also owned a salon.

"[It was] going great," Greenawalt said. "Then, in 2009, we got about 2 feet of water and we barely recouped from that."

Then came another flood in 2010.

"I went bankrupt," Greenawalt said. "I had to relocate 11 other stylists."

Being a small business owner, Greenawalt didn't have the funds to pay for the high costs of having flood insurance.

In April, Kansas City voters approved an infrastructure bond program that would address flooding issues, which would include Indian Creek. The funds from the bond are expected to be matched by federal funds.

Still, Tom Kimes, a storm water utility engineering manager for KC Water, said the city would have to fund 35 percent of the costs to fix flooding issues. 

Kimes said Indian Creek is on the city's radar, adding that conversations for a fix have begun.

"We would need to widen the channel, lay the slopes back, construct channel walls so the carrying capacity of the channel walls would be increased," Kimes said. 

The plan would cost millions of dollars and years to be put in place.