Kayakers, jet-skiers having fun with the record floods in Kalamazoo

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A few residents knew exactly what to do with all the rising flood water on Riverview Drive. They grabbed their kayaks and jet skis and spent Saturday afternoon having fun in it.

“It’s insane,” said Becky Slater who works on Riverview Drive. “We’ve watched it go up from the beginning of it and then slowly watched it rise.”

Riverview Drive, including nearby Michigan Avenue and Engleman Street, are submerged. Some part the roads sit under a foot of water while the 14-foot viaduct is filled halfway. A few cars turned around once they got to the water while other drivers stepped out to take pictures with their phones.

“They kind of tried to fix it a few years ago,” said Amber Slack about the intersection of Riverview and Michigan. “It was better but this is a whole different beast. This is way way more than I think we’ve ever could’ve anticipated happening around here.”

The City released a statement saying that the Kalamazoo River reached a record 11.5 feet. Residents along Morrow Lake were evacuated due to all the flooding on Thursday and Friday. Waters are expected to recede on Sunday.

“I really feel bad for my tenants,” said Lavon Schwartz who owns several houses on Lamont and Carleton Streets. “Last night they all had to abandon their houses. So that’s a little frustrating.”

Saturday morning he went to check out the floods on his property. He said the houses are a flood zone and the area has flooded in the past. But he’s never seen it like this.

“I was trying to add it up last night and it’s quite a huge amount of money to replace everything for sure,” said Schwartz about the costs to repair the damage. “You have to encounter life as it comes right.”

Schwartz said he’s determined to help his tenants. He like many others expressed the importance of remaining in good spirits. It’s the only way, they said, to get through it all.

“I mean, what can you do?” said Slack. “It’s not the worst thing that could’ve happened. It could’ve been a lot worst I think. We’re a very resilient community I think. So it’s kind of ingrained in us.”

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