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The Old Neighborhood’s All Wet–But With Good Reason

Photo by Dave Spencer

Sunrise Drive is where I grew up. You can see it on the far left of this photo. And my old house is still there. All the houses, in fact, still stand on the east side of Sunrise. But across the street? That’s a different story. Sunrise West (for lack of a better term) is now a basin, and it’s helped do the city of Owensboro a world of good in recent weeks.

This is one of the many basins that helped Owensboro stay above the flood line during April’s historic deluge. Oh, there were the usual suspects like Parrish Avenue in front of the Sportscenter and Carter Road between Parrish and West Fifth Street Road. But they seem to flood if you spill a glass of water. No, I’m talking generally. The basins worked wonders for the city proper.

And as far as the Sunrise Drive basin is concerned, I have quite a bit of experience with flooding issues in this particular area. When I was a kid, and it would start raining, all of the adults in the neighborhood would just start working through contingency plans in case the water got too close to our doorsteps. And one of the houses–on the north end of the street–always had trouble. But that was what the grown-ups did. We kids had a different agenda. Now, this is gonna sound a little gross, but when I was a boy and the water would come up in the street and our backyards, we all just thought, “Hey! Instant swimming pool!” Of course, the water was never deep enough so that you could actually swim. But when you’re under 5 feet tall, it’s pretty good for wading and splashing around. And we had a blast! Of course, now with the new basin, Sunrise Drive flooding is a thing of the past.

You know, it’s kind of interesting when I look at that picture; it’s becoming difficult to remember where all those houses were, exactly. But I CAN see Owensboro Christian Church which used to be Lincoln Mall. We had a mall at the end of our street; how cool was that? Of course, in the center there’s Williamsburg Square, which remains active. And, on the right, you can see Tom Blue’s lumber yard. We used to play on that lumber, and we absolutely were not supposed to–insurance issues and all. And, yes, there were those days when we’d be run off. But what did we know? We were kids. As you’re growing up, isn’t it a law that you HAVE to be run off of someone’s property at least once?

Sunrise Drive was a lot of fun and a great neighborhood when I was young. And now, a whole new generation can make its own memories–and a vitally important new city basin will be a part of them.

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