NORMAN, Okla. — A Norman couple is living on the edge; literally. Their home is inches away from a creek that’s been slowing eroding from their backyard.
“It’s always a fear of coming home and finding a corner of our home in the creek,” said Bob Nielsen.
If you look at the inches between the Nielsen’s home and the 20 feet drop off, you’ll see why. Their home hangs in the balance between land and water.
Bob and Sheila have lived there three years but in the past year, Brookehaven creek has eroded several feet.
“Every time its rains, we just pray that the house doesn’t go into the creek,” said Sheila.
After Norman voters approved a bond last year, they thought the problem would be fixed but it only became more complicated.
“This home and channel are on private property,” said Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary. “The city has no authority in either one. The only reason we’re involved is because we’re going to build the project and try to improve the entire situation.”
O’Leary said with the Main Street Bridge Project in the works, federal funds could help stabilize the creek as well. He said the city would only have to pay 20 percent of the cost. However, that money won’t be available until 2016. Not much consolation for the Nielsons’.
O’Leary says the city has requested funds to expedite funds.
“We are within weeks and we’re sort of at the mercy of the Federal Highway Administration and ODOT to approve the process,” O’Leary says.
With rain expected this week, Bob Nielsen just hopes his home doesn’t crumble into the creek or something more tragic doesn’t happen before then.
“It’s extremely dangerous especially for the children that play in our complex. We have a small child that plays here with their friends there’s not always an adult. All we need is for one child to come back here and fall,” Nielsen says.
If those fund can’t be expedited, officials say Norman city council would have to decide if it will pay for the cost up front.
We’ll keep following this.