Digging into floodplain paperwork led to savings for citizens of Pratt.

For those with property in one of the four designated floodplain areas in Pratt, there is good news regarding future flood insurance premiums, thanks to Public Works Secretary Lola Shumway, who is also the city’s Certified Flood Plain Manager.
Shumway is credited with actions to upgrade the city’s Community Rating System (CRS), which dictates flood insurance premium rates, from Class 8 to Class 7.
“She just does a terrific job in saving taxpayers money,” Mayor Doug Meyer said.
A city employee since 2002, Shumway became the Certified Floodplain Manager ten years ago after she was drafted by a former city building inspector to attend a class in floodplain management at the Pratt Municipal Building.
“I got sent to the meeting and I went,” Shumway said.
She not only went, but she learned.
Since then Shumway has dug in and followed the guidelines set by the Community Rating System Protocol to move the city’s rating from the bottom rung, up four notches which increases the discount property owners will get on flood insurance from 10 to 15 percent, starting in May.
“People in the floodplain will save,” Shumway said.
The city’s four floodplains are Mae Dennis Park, Zerger Park, an area behind Sandy Creek Addition and the ditch beside Country Club Road that feeds into the Ninnescah River.
“The reason Lemon Park gets flooded is that it’s in the shape of a bowl,” Shumway said.
One of her priorities as Pratt’s Floodplain Manager is to have city crews “walk the ditches” twice a year to remove any accumulated debris that would prevent drainage, Shumway said.
She also recommended that the city recreation department staff install flood vents at two of the structures in Lemon Park.
“The vents did their job when it flooded last fall,” Shumway said.
Another priority for Shumway is to provide information to residents through brochures available at the Pratt Public Library and at other locations in town.
Shumway said she also provides local realtors and insurance agencies with updated information to keep them abreast of matters relating to floodplain requirements.
Shumway, along with City Building Inspector Brad Blankenship and Public Works Director Russ Rambat, recently attended a Flood Plain Mapping Kickoff Meeting in Pratt, sponsored by the Kansas Division of Water Resources.
“They pretty much told us we’re going to be doing digital maps in the future,” Shumway said. “The maps will be on-line so we can mark problem areas in the city.”