LIVE: Mayor Heartwell addresses GR flooding

2:30 PM, Apr 19, 2013   |    comments
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Mayor George Heartwell: "Shower with a friend" to alleviate flooding at Grand Rapids wastewater plant. (April 19, 2013)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The City of Grand Rapids gave the public an update on the developing flooding along the Grand River.

Here are the highlights from the 1:30p.m. news conference with Mayor George Heartwell:

-City of Grand Rapids staff has opened the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to manage the actions taken in Grand Rapids as they relate to flooding or potential dangerous situations. 

-River level as of 11:00am is 20.09'. The crest prediction is now 23.3' early Monday morning (was 24.76'). This is headed in a better direction.

-Your safety is a priority. Please comply with emergency personnel when asked to evacuate or leave an area that has been deemed unsafe. 200 Residents residing in the Park Place apartment complex along Plaster Creek have been evacuated. 

-Emergency Shelters have been set up at: Kentwood Activities Center, 353 - 48th Street and Alpine Baptist Church, 692 - 7 Mile Road NW in Comstock Park First Baptist Church, 2275 W. Main Street, Lowell The Red Cross urges evacuees to bring blankets, pillows, medications, personal hygiene items, a change of clothes and items for the young and elderly.

-The Wastewater Treatment Plant on Market Avenue could potentially flood. Volunteers continue to be needed to make sand bags to strengthen the area around the plant. Volunteers are being coordinated through WMEAC, and are asked to report to either 201 Market (Public Services offices) or 660 Market (Wastewater Treatment Plant) at 8:00am on Saturday, April 20, 2013 to make sand bags.

- Please obey road closures. About a dozen roads have been closed because they are unsafe due to the high water. Residents are strongly urged to use caution when driving over any water-covered roadways. Do NOT attempt to drive through flooded areas. Current road closures are listed on the City website at www.update.grcity.us 

- Due to the high water, Riverside Park is closed to all pedestrian traffic. For your own safety, please do not enter the park or enter the river.

-Residents should attempt to report safety issues related to flooding to these numbers:
Manholes and stormwater: Sewer Maintenance 456-3246 Emergency (Police and Fire): 911
Flooded streets: 456-3232

-We are currently under a high wind advisory. The wind, coupled with chilly temperatures, which could pose another set of problems. Please be aware of and report downed power lines to Consumer's Energy immediately. 1-800-477-5050

-If you must leave your home due to the flooding, be sure to turn off electricity to your residence.  The City of Grand Rapids has not declared a State of Emergency.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM/AP) -- Mayor George Heartwell will hold a news conference at 1:30 p.m. Friday to address flood conditions in the City of Grand Rapids. 

WATCH LIVE HERE (MOBILE USERS: http://bit.ly/178fSmI)

As of this morning, 1,200 sandbags had been filled to keep the Grand River from flooding parts of downtown and the wastewater plant. Leaders hope to fill 50,000 sandbags to keep the river at bay.

Volunteers are assembling at the Grand Rapids wastewater plant garage on Market Avenue with the goal of filling 600 sandbags per hour. City workers from other departments are working to sandbag, and volunteers are encouraged to join.

RELATEDMayor: "Shower with a friend" to alleviate flooding

Meanwhile, more flooding was affecting Grand Rapids. Crews pumped water out of the basements of two downtown hotels Friday morning.

Mayor Heartwell will again address the media Saturday, and Sunday afternoon with updates on the flooding situation. Those news conferences will be broadcast on Comcast cable channel 26, as well as streamed live on the city's website.

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