This was the third time since June that residents from different areas of town had met with the council to voice similar concerns.
Jeff Henderson, 511 S. Wilson, spokesman for the group, described the buildup in the backyard of his home and the home of his neighbor, Dorothy Foth, this summer. Other residents in attendance described incidents of water buildup as well.
With Foth’s permission, Henderson said he dug a shallow ditch between their homes in an effort to drain the water, much of which has been coming off yards on Adams Street to the west. The ditch helped, but the flow of water after subsequent rains has prevented the growth of grass seed planted in the ditch.
Henderson asked the council to make some permanent corrections along the city’s easement that runs between Wilson and Adams streets.
Other residents in attendance confirmed Henderson’s suggestion that the drainage issues began after the street department created an asphalt alleyway through the easement, which previously had been covered with water-absorbing grass.
Henderson asked the council to find a solution that would not transfer the drainage problems to neighbors on the north end of the block, which has a lower elevation.
When Mayor Delores Dalke said city engineer Bob Previtera would “put together a plan” for that area, Henderson asked that he receive a written report of the plan, including a timetable for action.
During the engineer’s report later in the meeting, the drainage issue surfaced again. Dalke reminded the council of recent residential complaints along Birch, Floral and North Adams streets.
She said she was aware of additional areas of town that have similar issues.
“I don’t know where we’ll go with this,” Dalke said, noting that the city does not have adequate funds to fix all of the problems within one budget year.
Council members agreed they should review the overall situation during a work session and list projects in priority.
The South Wilson delegation was given a chance to air their concerns during what Dalke said will be a “public comment” opportunity at the start of every council meeting from now on.