Flood forces Berrien Springs residents to evacuate

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. (WNDU) --- Dozens of Berrien Springs families are living elsewhere after a flood damaged properties north of the dam. Between Shamrock Park campground and River Springs Estates, at least 200 people evacuated, according to Berrien County officials. The dam near Lake Chapin is working properly, says Village President Milt Richter, who adds I&M opened some of the stillways on Wednesday to alleviate pressure. I&M adds its dams are not designed to be storage or flood-control facilities.

Higher ground.
On Wednesday, Pat Jackson says he left his River Springs trailer. From what he’s been told, the area where he lives is dry. Other neighbors, he says, are less fortunate.

“Lot of damage, lot of older people, elderly people – people like me who have problems, but we’ll all survive. We’ll get through it,” remarked Jackson.

Knowing he needed to evacuate, Jackson called his friend, Michael Bonner, who lives nearby. Bonner said he had plenty of room.

“That’s what a community is all about, helping one another,” said Bonner. “A lot of times people are caught in their own way, own routine of day. They don’t even want to assist or even add an extra hand.”

Milt Richter, the village president, says he’s touched by the community’s support.

“It’s just a nice thing to see in a time of need. Everybody comes together and help, no matter whether they give you five bucks, a hundred bucks, or five hundred dollars. Or, ‘What can I do to help? Can I help clean up the park?’”

Eventually, Richter says he will need clean-up volunteers.

In the meantime, flood-displaced residents can stay at the Berrien Springs Middle School, the temporary 24-hour shelter run by the American Red Cross.

If you want to donate, you can go to the American Red Cross website . In the donation line, write Berrien Springs. You also can call Neighbor to Neighbor at 269-471-7411.