The city of Indianapolis faces possibly paying several hundred thousand dollars for a restaurant badly damaged by flooding that swamped a neighborhood during a downpour a year ago.
City officials found that inspectors failed to properly activate an electronic locking system on a pair of White River floodgates that a trespasser had closed two weeks before the May 2012 flooding that left a foot or more of dirty water in parts of the Broad Ripple neighborhood on the city's north side.
The city has paid out more than $82,000 to settle damage claims from several restaurants and other businesses but still has a nearly $650,000 claim pending from Petite Chou restaurant and a $19,000 claim from another restaurant, The Indianapolis Star reported Monday.
Petite Chou owner Martha Hoover said it was a "ground zero" of the flooding. The restaurant's insurance company initially submitted a $200,000 damage claim but the damage was much for extensive.
"We literally had to gut the place," Hoover said. "We had to rebuild everything. It was a disaster."
City spokesman Marc Lotter declined to discuss the matter because of the two pending claims. The other open claim is from Mediterra Restaurant, next to Petite Chou.
The city Department of Public Works found that the closed flood gates prevented the neighborhood's storm sewers from draining into the White River about a quarter mile away when more than an inch of rain fell during the storm.
Changes announced by city officials included the installation of tamperproof locks and increased inspections of the floodgates to prevent a repeat of the flooding.
Larry Marling, the owner of Bogie's Barber Shop, said he was gratified by the increased monitoring of the floodgates and that the city resolved his $8,000 damage claim from the flooding.
"My attorney took care of most everything," Marling said. "Of course, it takes time for them to settle."