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Thursday, March 26, 2015

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Grand Rapids named in lawsuit over flood damage to Plaza Towers

Caroline MacGregor
June 11, 2014 | WGVU   The lawsuit against the City of Grand Rapids was filed by Varnum Law - hired to represent the Plaza Towers Condominium Association on behalf of Eenhoorn LLC and other apartment management companies.

The suit claims a pedestrian access cut into the city floodwall 20 years ago led to the evacuation of 1000 residents when more than a million gallons of water flooded the complex’s basement and parking garage.

During last April’s historic flood, the Grand River crested at a record high in downtown Grand Rapids. Varnum Law attorney, Stephen Afendoulis, says damage that amounted to millions of dollars was the direct result of the design of a pedestrian walkway along the Grand River which cuts into the floodwall. The suit claims the nearly 15 foot hole effectively directed water onto complex property.

For several days, millions of gallons of water were pumped out of the building’s basement. There was no damage to the structure of the building but between 30 cars in the basement were damaged. When smoke was seen pouring from the basement, power was shut off to prevent damage to the building's electrical system and residents were told to gather up their belongings and leave quickly.  Most stayed with family and friends, others in local hotels.

Eenhorn President, Paul Heule, offered residents rent credit for time they were displaced along with money for spoiled food. The pedestrian access was part of the River’s Edge Environmental Sculpture Park, completed in 1996. The Plaza Towers, at one time owned by Amway, participated in its construction.

So far, calls to the city for comment have gone unreturned.
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