Despite the threat of future flooding by Tar Creek, Jim Vaughan hasn't even considered moving his real estate office from its current location.
“This is a great location,” said Vaughan, who has had Jim Vaughan Real Estate at 1415 East Steve Owens for 11 years. “There is high visibility, high traffic count. It's off the interstate. I've been in real estate for 30 years and we've always alluded to this as ‘real estate alley' because all but one real estate agency is along Steve Owens Boulevard. You kinda want to be where your competition is at.”
Vaughan's 5,100 square foot building had water at least 8 1/2 feet deep during the July 2007 flood. It could have been even deeper since Vaughan found some ceiling tiles on the floor.
Vaughan said the building has had water in it four times, including 2007, with heights of 18 inches, 3 feet and 4 feet.
“This was the biggie,” he said.
Vaughan - who had flood insurance - estimated it cost $75,000 to repair the building. That doesn't include expenses incurred by a brief move to an office on North Main Street.
“With 8 1/2 feet of water, you had to get the insulation out, had to rewire it, replumb it,” Vaughan said. “You had to make sure you got all the mold. It's like brand new ,interior-wise.”
Vaughan's office was one of more than a dozen along East Steve Owens that were affected by the flooding.
“I bought this knowing it was in a flood plane,” he said. “I took my chances and purchased it with my eyes wide open. I do think it probably never should have been built in the first place. That is the bottom line hearing at the time GRDA bought the easements. If that's the case, then either GRDA is at fault or the city's at fault for allowing some guy to build here.
“Everybody has got to take their share (of the blame). I still bought it with my eyes wide open.”
Love's Country Store
1015 East Steve Owens
Jon Stanton got news he didn't want to hear when he got to the Miami Love's Country Store just before 6 a.m. on July 2 - floodwaters would likely be in the building in a short time.
“I didn't know the extent of it at that point,” said Stanton, who had only taken over as manager two months prior. “I had to make some phone calls to try to find out what kind of water level they were talking about. I didn't have much time.
“We got the biggest U-Haul we could get and try to load everything that we could salvage and get it to Joplin,” Stanton said. “All these storage units (in Miami) were already taken up at that time.”
In about 12 hours, while one crew was sandbagging, another crew worked to empty virtually everything.
“We sandbagged, trying to do everything possible that we could to limit the damage,” Stanton said. “We locked the building, killed the power and took care of all the safety procedures with the fuel tanks.”
Once floodwaters subsided, repairs began.
“We wound up completely gutting it, right down to the brick,” Stanton said. “We wound up with pretty much a whole new building. Love's wanted to make sure the customers were happy, so they went ahead and replaced the air conditioning and everything.
Stanton said the store reopened on Aug. 23.
900 East Steve Owens
Renovation at the Townsman Motel is the proverbial “work in progress” - repairs continue almost a year since floodwaters inundated the 72-room landmark.
“It took a little longer than we expected,” said owner Sam Patel. “We had to fight the weather and other things. It's been frustrating. This is my first time (to cope with a flood) and hopefully it's the last.”
Patel said 35 rooms were opened earlier this month and the remaining rooms should be open by early July.
Patel, who has owned the motel for eight years, said he was warned of the flooding danger early on July 2.
“They told us we were going to flood, but they weren't sure how much we were going to have,” Patel said. “They were thinking about 2 feet, but weren't sure. We put stuff up 4 or 5 feet high and put some things in second-floor units.”
Patel admitted he was surprised at the depth of the water on the far west end of Steve Owens Blvd.
“It got 4 to 4 1/2 feet deep, and even as deep as 5 feet in some places,” Patel said. “We couldn't move most of the stuff because we had to move personal stuff and only had three people here that day. We wish we could have moved more “
Only about 40 percent of the repairs have been covered by insurance, Patel said.
“We pretty much had to redo the whole thing,” he said. “We had to replace plumbing, electrical and most of the studs. We had to wait on the permit and mold got up there, so we had to pretty much just restart with everything.”
Patel said he might have thought twice about buying the hotel.
“I might have given it a second thought if I knew it was a really bad flood zone when I bought it,” Patel said. “We were beginners and didn't know what could happen.”
Miami Animal Clinic
Like the phoenix, the Miami Animal Clinic has risen from the ashes of the July 2007 flood.
Work on a new 7,000-square foot building, located on Highway 69A, 2 1/2 miles north of the Will Rogers Turnpike entrance, is almost complete.
The clinic had been located at the same location on East Steve Owens Blvd. since 1950, but Dr. Rod Hough opted to move after water inundated the old facility.
“We were perfectly happy where we were,” said Hough, who has had the clinic since 1995. “We were on a high traffic road and were close to the turnpike. We had been there for 58 years.”
Hough always had crews willing to help sandbag and board up the building - making it look more like it was in Miami, Fla., awaiting a hurricane instead of an Oklahoma flood.
“This was the first time we actually got water in the building,” Hough said.
Once Hough opted to evacuate, he had to move 12 animals to his home.
“We set up portable pens and had things set up in the barn,” he said. “We took care of them out there.”
Hough then set up a temporary office at 101 South Treaty Road.
The new building, with 7,000 square feet, is fully operational - sans a paved parking lot.
“The limestone is on, but when they roll it, there's too much movement - the ground is still too wet,” Hough said. “When we started it, I never dreamt it would take us a year go get in.
There's 4,300 square feet in the main building, which includes a small animal clinic and office space. The adjacent large-animal clinic has 2,500 square feet and has some hospitalization pens, Hough said.
“We had to design it on the fly,” Hough said. “Under normal situations, when you build a new facility, you get with the architects and engineers and plan it over a year or so. But we had to design this one on the fly.”