Man-Made Creek in North East is Causing a Variety of Problems
There's a man-made creek that flows beside, and even under, many buildings in the Borough of North East. It was created in the late 1800s for a good purpose, but over the years it has caused a lot of trouble and expense.
The waterway is called Baker's Creek. It extends for miles from the southern section of the borough all the way north to Lake Erie. It was created by town leaders around 1884 to help with firefighting efforts. Little did they know that the area around the creek is now a flood zone.
There's been some big floods, even over the last few years, and property owners along the creek are on always on guard is case of a heavy rainstorm or snowmelt. The flood waters have rushed through businesses in the downtown area.
The borough government and private property owners have constructed new retaining walls, but there are neglected sections where erosion takes place and debris flows into the creek, adding to the flooding risk.
On top of that, the area is an official government flood plain and expensive flood insurance is mandatory if you have a mortgage on your property. The ever increasing cost of insurance makes it almost impossible for anyone to sell their property.
Dr. Tom Mack's chiropractic office sits almost on top of the creek.
"For me to sell would be prohibitive for other people to buy because they have to have flood insurance if they're not going to pay cash. And that makes it very difficult for all of us land owners in downtown North East to try to sell these properties down the road,” Mack said.
Borough Manager Pat Gehrlein is worried that some people in the flood zone may simply abandon their properties because of the rising cost of flood insurance. North East leaders have been meeting with state officials to come up with a way to solve all the problems with the creek.