Green Living, Home Values, Real Estate News

Levees Protect Munster, Highland Real Estate Values

June 4, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

LittleCalLevee3 By Steve CardwellFor more than 20 years controversy has swirled around annual flooding of the Little Calumet river. At the junction point where Hart Ditch meets the Little Cal, there has been an annual recurring crisis along the river.  At the old Woodmar Golf Club, now Cabella’s property, and in Wicker Park, unplanned water hazards to the golf play was an annual rite-of-Spring. In some years, unincorporated Calumet Township, and areas of Gary around IUN flooded as well.

As far as Munster Indiana homeowners were concerned, the problems were usually contained inside the watershed and the parks. But in 2008 a major flood resulted from the failure of an old levee. This time it was a catastrophe as several thousand homes were affected and there was hundreds of millions in property damage. In 2009 the I-94 expressway was closed for several days as water filled the Kennedy Avenue exit and underpass. Some of Munster’s most stately neighborhoods were written off as unlivable, in the minds of many observers.

Kildeer Eggs by Steve CardwellFast forward to today. The Little Calumet River Basin Commission partnered with the US Army Corps of Engineers to re mediate the flood plain with a series of levees, sea walls, retention ponds and wetland zones.  Now that this massive project is nearly complete, and 20 years  in the making, it is  starting to pay off for residents. Wheels of government roll slowly, and for such a large undertaking it was not going to happen over night. The process involved over 20 miles of seawalls and levees,  lift stations and control gates,  and of course, engineering studies, and extensive infrastructure work, not to mention budgeting the funding for such a massive project.  In the end, it was broken down into 8 separate phases, with the final stages wrapping up in 2011.

And if you are an amateur meteorologist, the Little Cal Basin Commission has their floodwater monitoring system online so you can follow along with the science team as they watch the river levels along the protected stretch.


Here are some recreational spots to explore around the 2,000 acre Little Calumet watershed:

  • Homestead Park
  • Riverside Park
  • River Drive (several different sections)
  • Northcote Ave.
  • Cabella’s grounds to the South of the store
  • Wicker Memorial Park
  • Interstate Plaza Dr.
  • Corrine Drive
  • Nature Trail behind the Convention Visitor’s Bureau

The political work of the Little Calumet Basin Commission still has one major hurdle to overcome. The Indiana legislature was unable to reach a consensus on how to fund the necessary maintenance budget for the levee system. After more than $65 million of State and Federal funds for design and construction, several funding ideas were put forward to keep the new protection in top form. However, with the austerity-mindset in Indianapolis, there seems little will to keep the system in like-new condition. Some might suggest that with all the distractions of dismantling labor unions and providing grants to private schools, Governor Daniels and the House have lost sight of their vision and responsibilities to pay the upkeep.

For now, all the residents of Hammond, Highland, and Munster should appreciate the work and dedication that went into turning this liability into a fantastic natural asset for all of us to enjoy. Success in the first season has shown us the vision was realized. Once the value proposition is understood and word gets around, maybe our government will follow through with the funds the Commission needs to insure these new structures will continue to protect our homes.

If you would like to know more about real estate values in Munster Indiana, Highland Indiana, or Hammond Indiana, let me show you around the neighborhoods and find the perfect house for your family to call home.

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Steve Cardwell

Steve Cardwell is an Indiana Realtor working with residential buyers and sellers throughout Northwest Indiana. He likes to stay current on the housing market by analyzing real estate trends with a focus on the towns of Highland and Munster Indiana. His broker affiliation is Red Key Realty Leaders in St John, Indiana. Learn more about Steve and visit

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One Response to “Levees Protect Munster, Highland Real Estate Values”
  1. Not only has the new levees along the Calumet River protected home values in Munster Indiana and Highland Indiana, some would argue that the homes along the Calumet River have become more affordable. How is that possible? Many of the areas along the Calumet River used to be designated as areas that required flood insurance. Fast forward and now the exact same homes are anywhere from $70 – $150 less per month.

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