Marion residents voice drainage complaints

A half dozen residents in Marion attended a special meeting Monday, June 22, to explore options with the city council on drainage problems in their neighborhoods.

The major areas affected with flooding include the first block north of Main Street on Lincoln, Locust and Cedar streets.

Martin and Anita Hooper live on North Cedar; Jean Case on North Lincoln; Jack and Glenda Taylor on Eastmoor and Kay and Leland Heidebrecht, also residents, spoke about the latest rainfall and drainage troubles.

The problem, according to residents, is the water comes off Cedar Street and the storm drain dumps into the alley and across two smaller culverts at Cedar.

?More water is coming through those two little ones (culverts) and it can?t handle it,? Martin Hooper said.

?The rains flooded over curbs and surrounded the yard,? said Anita Hooper. ?We had 6 inches of water in the garage and our furnace was destroyed.?

Martin said once every four to five years the rain would go over the top of the ravine, but didn?t back up into our house.

?When it?s a fairly good rain,? he said, ?the water runs down the driveway and into the garage.?

Case, who was at last week?s council meeting, said her yard was completely flooded on both sides.

?My backyard was a mess,? she said.

Marty Frederickson, street director, and Harvey Sanders, public works director, sat in on the meeting.

One option, Frederickson suggested, might be to place a bigger culvert all the way through the affected areas. But that would require paperwork from Dan Baldwin, city attorney, allowing city equipment to enter private property, he said.

If the city looks to install a bigger culvert in the future, it would need to be a 4- to 5-foot rectangular-shaped culvert due to the configuration necessary, Fredrickson said.

?What happens if the culvert going all the way through isn?t big enough?? asked Councilor Stacey Collett.

?Before that kind of a final fix is considered,? Frederickson said, ?we will be in touch with the Marion County Conserva?tion District office about the ditches and drainage.?

Fitting a bigger culvert in that area would also be expensive since fiber optic and gas lines would need to be moved too, he said.

Hooper said the city could run backhoes on his property.

?Whatever it?s going to take,? he said.

Case said Sanders had tried to dig a trench to help, but even with the big trench her yard still fills up.

During the 1980s, Case said, a group of high school seniors, for community service, worked on the ravine near her house. The students took rocks from the culvert and threw the big rocks out, she said.

In the meantime, both Frederickson and Sanders will first look at cleaning out silt and rocks from the ravines, which are causing water to back up as it tries heading downstream from the alleys.

?We will see what we can find out and keep information going,? said Councilor Bill Holdeman.

Mayor Mary Olson thanked the councilors and residents for working together on the problem.

?We will start at the bottom and work our way up,? she said regarding the drainage issues. ?We appreciate it, too, when landowners can help out.

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