UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. – Repeated severe flooding has cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. Many residents lost all of their possessions. It’s a problem that’s been studied for decades.

Did University City officials do enough to head off the trouble? That is the focus of this You Paid For It investigation.

The US Army Corp of Engineers has done one study after another on the causes of flooding University City starting in 1988. Despite all that the same old problems keep coming up. The historic flooding in late July brought the issue up again.

Elliott Davis asked University City Mayor Terry Crow for answers.

“Seem like University City hasn’t done anything with that Army Corp of Engineers report in 40 years. Did U-City drop the ball?” asked Elliott Davis.

“Well of course not Elliott!” said Mayor Terry Crow. “I can’t believe you’re actually saying that after we’ve just been through a historic and devastating flood for all the people we’ve gone through.”

Many of University City’s residents want to know what the city is doing. Deana Anderson lives on Wilson Avenue. Her house is now condemned after the recent flooding.

“I’ve seen nothing. We almost had to beg the mayor to come down here just to talk to us. It seems that they’re hiding out somewhere,” said Deanna Anderson.

The Army Corp of Engineers started studying the problem in 1988. There was a report in 2004 and another around 2012. MSD later kicked in $650,000 to have a report done.

“The city requested another study in 2013 and the Army Corp of Engineers issued an economic update saying it would cost $20 to 30 million dollars to buy out the homes. They were in the flood plain,” said Mayor Crow.

The city is currently studying a new idea for a buyout. It will cost more than $100 million dollars.

There was an effort to buy out homes on Wilson Street years ago. They could only buy about half of them, 26 homes, before they ran out of money.

“It’s like you did a report and it sat on the shelf!” said Elliott Davis to the Army Corps of Engineers..

“I think what we’re currently doing shows that it takes a lot of coordination from all the different agencies and levels of government,” said Matt Jones with the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The head of MSD thinks July’s historic flooding may be a game changer.

“I think this may bring to light more of the seriousness of the problem. Hopefully, when we come back,there will at least be a funding source to get the solutions moving,” said Brian Hoelscher, Executive Director & CEO of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District.

“My one question is, do you think University City has done enough over the 40 years to deal with the flooding,” said Elliott Davis.

“Here’s what I would say. The fact that you and I are having this conversation shows me that not enough progress has been made because we shouldn’t be talking about this in 2022. It started happening years ago so I accept that,” said Mayor Crow.

A lot of families in University City are wondering whether their elected officials have done enough to help their community avoid some of this awful flooding. You know I’ll stay on top of this and let you know what the mayor and other officials do going forward.
After all, you paid for it.