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Johnson County issues disaster declaration after storms and flooding

Posted: 10:15 PM, Jul 27, 2017
Updated: 2017-07-28 23:03:43Z

Following a pair of damaging storms this week, Johnson County has declared a state of local disaster.   

The bridge at Blue River Stream Way Park was a highlight for people, allowing them to walk across the water and get to the other side. But it has since moved hundreds of feet, shutting down nearly 16 miles of trail.

"We have lost some trails in other places but nothing as severe as this bridge," said Bill Maasen, with the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. 

Board of County Commission Chairman Ed Eilert signed the emergency declaration after extensive damage was scattered throughout the county.

"We saw more damage to public property, park property, country roads, and those types of things than we've seen in 15 years," said Sharon Watson, Director of Public Affairs & Communication, Johnson County. 

The heavy rain and raging flood waters caused significant damage to public facilities. But, it was the Leawood area that was hit the hardest.

"Damage to a fire truck, they had damage to public park property as well as some vehicles on their park property. They had some buildings affected as well," said Watson. 

Now the county is scrambling. 

"Going out and looking at all that property, looking at our parks, looking at our roadways trying to determine what has to be done," said Watson. 

Johnson County Parks and Recreation has their hands full.

"We were 4 foot easily, 4 foot under water here, where we're at now," said Maasen. 

Repair work is expected to take days.

"It's like you'll see it's in pieces, they're like 16 ft. long, we'll cut it in pieces and move it," said Maasen. 

They’re asking you to stay out of blocked off areas.

"If there's a barricade or the gates are closed, please honor those and don't put yourself at risk or your kids at risk," said Maasen. 

The declaration will allow county officials to request additional resources and potential funding assistance for public facilities and roadways.

At this time, they’re estimating damage to be in the millions.

"We think there's a possibility that we might be able to reach the thresholds that the state and federal government require," said Watson. 

Johnson County said that they hope to have the total damage estimates in by next week. That way they can see if they'll meet the required levels to receive assistance. Heritage Park and Tomahawk Hills Golf Courses as well as Nelson Island and portions of Mission Road also sustained great damage.