Fence to go up along concrete drainage that killed 10-year-old boy, 2 men

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District officials say they're starting to take action Monday after a 10-year-old boy and two men trying to save him died, swept away in a drainage ditch following severe thunderstorms in mid-June.

MMSD officials say water can move at 20 feet per second along the concrete channel near S. 27th and Loomis where it all happened on June 13, meaning anyone who falls in would be swept away instantly, which is what happened to Rashidullah Abdul Hashim and Zakaria Gonumeah, and the 10-year-old boy they tried to save, Mouhammad Arman Rashidullah.

That's why they plan to put up a fence to try and keep that from happening again.

Officials said crews will start installing more than four miles of fencing and signage to keep people away from the concrete channels.

"Very tragic, very sad, I'm quite surprised it has not happened before," said Lisa Tomovich.

She says she's lived near where it happened most of her life.

"Before the cement was put in we used to skate down there in the winter," recalled Tomovich, going on to add that a lot has changed since then. "But there's kids playing all the time down there, so a fence would be a great idea, just a couple concerns about it."

She said her biggest concern is what type of fence it is.

"I would like it more to be chain-link than wooden, because vandalism and the graffiti that would come with [a wooden fence]," said Tomovich.

Other concerns include it being high enough to keep kids out, and long-term plans to maintain the fence and clean up trash that may get caught in it.

"Don't just put it up and make it look pretty, then leave it and let it look ugly four, five, six years down the road," said Tomovich.

Long-term, officials said there are plans to remove the concrete, which was added in the 1960s to move water along faster. But that will take many years and hundreds of millions of dollars.

More specifics on the fence are expected to be announced Monday morning, on Aug. 14, at a press conference.

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