Numu Creek overflows; restaurant, park, theater flooded

Lawton_After Wednesday morning's rain, several homes and businesses in Lawton found themselves under water...again.  Even with protection in place, the rising waters were too much.  They covered floors, playgrounds, even cars couldn't make it home.  The canals just couldn't take all the extra rain, causing Numu Creek to overflow.

At Bella Mia's restaurant, near SW 11th and Lee, they opened up, ankle-deep in water, for the second time this week. "It was around 1:30, 2:00 in the morning and one of my managers called me and said that the restaurant is flooded," Bella Mia's owner Tony Camporese said.

Camporese says this is the fourth time this year the restaurant has flooded.

When Numu Creek overflows, it covers his restaurant in water, even with all the precautions they've tried.

"We had sandbags up already but there's nothing we can do about it.  And it's reoccurring every time we get this kind of heavy rain.  And there's nothing I can do about it except build a solid wall around the restaurant," Camporese said.

But they aren't the only ones being hit.

"Homes are just being flooded.  And the park is like, you know, it's nothing but water on it," Camporese said.

Mattie Beal Park was pretty much submerged by Numu Creek.  It overflowed its banks, covered benches and even reached the playground over thirty feet away.

The Lawton Community Theatre also was flooded for the fourth time.  But it was worse than ever.

"We had hoped we would be able to sustain some more flood water.  But it appears that we received about 10 inches of rainwater around the entire building and so we were not prepared for that level of water around the entire building," President of LCT's Board of Directors Tom Sutherlin said.

Sutherlin says they've tried everything from sandbags to drainage ditches, but nothing seems to help.

"We're past anger.  We're at that point where we're totally frustrated and we think we've done everything we can," Sutherlin said.

Their problem is the drainage in the canal.  It just can't handle the heavy rains.

"The bridge on Bell Avenue has conduit pipe underneath it for the water discharge. It's not a box culvert bridge.  So it's...whenever the runoff is excessive, that bridge cannot discharge the water, so it comes out of the north side of the bridge and begins to sweep over Bell Avenue," Sutherlin said.

Sutherlin says there is nothing else they can do.  It's up to the city.

"So we've done everything we can.  We're going to need help from the City and we're willing to work with anyone from the city to resolve this issue," Sutherlin said.

"You know, its like a third world country.  We get this in third world countries, not the United States," Camporese said.

The city council is meeting next week to discuss plans on what to do about the constant flooding problems.

The Lawton Community Theatre has set up a building fund for repairs.  If you would like to contribute, just go by the theatre on Bell Avenue.

And on another flood related note, officials are urging those who are driving south of Lawton to stay on the interstate.   Several of the back roads are now under water and are unsafe to drive on.