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Our View: Taming Magby Creek too costly




Heavy rains swept through Columbus and west Alabama earlier this week, which led to the inevitable. Magby Creek in North Columbus overflowed. Runoff ditches along Tuscaloosa Road weren''t able to hold all the water. Fields and streets filled with water. Roads and homes in the Masonic subdivision flooded.  


The scene has repeated itself dozens of times. Each time, residents call on the city to do something, to fix the problem. 


We believe government has a duty to protect its citizens. But in the case of this subdivision and this creek, enough has been done. 


Frankly, the value of the area doesn''t warrant the millions it would probably cost to channel out Magby Creek, revisit the old drainage system in the area, and make other fixes that would end flooding. 


We''re a river town. Along with that comes the creeks that feed the river. The Luxapalila, named a creek but actually a river itself, feeds into the Tombigbee and, despite channeling work along portions, also overflows during heavy rains. Magby Creek, smaller than the Lux, also feeds the Tombigbee. That smaller town creek reliably overflows after most every heavy rainstorm. 


Residents along the creeks realize this. Our hearts go out to the plight of the residents there. But that''s where they choose to live, and flooding there is a fact of life. Mother Nature is going to win this one.  


Various fixes have been proposed for the creek over the years. A few months ago, the city came to the county with a plan to install electronic sensors along Magby Creek, at a combined cost of $68,000 over three years. Maintenance fees would follow, year after year. The sensors wouldn''t stop the creek from flooding, only alert emergency responders when it''s about to. 


District 1 Supervisor and Board President Harry Sanders said he thought the sensors were a waste of money; people in the area know when the creek is going to flood. We agree with Sanders. The plan went nowhere.  


Want to know if the Magby will flood? Look outside. Is it raining? The creek is going to flood. 


The $2 billion Tenn-Tom Waterway had the effect of mitigating flooding in low-lying areas in other areas of the city, such as Burns Bottom downtown. The bottom still floods, but not like it used to. The city''s new soccer park is going in that area -- a perfect use for the land, and one that will reap an economic return for the city.  


Unlike water, billions of dollars won''t flow this way again any time soon. And if it did, it would probably be better spent somewhere else. 


We do care about the plight of the residents in the Masonic subdivision. But money is tight, and the city has myriad other infrastructure needs. The cost of fixing flooding in the area far outweighs the return.



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Reader Comments

Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 3/11/2011 4:06:00 PM:

How nice is it to see the Dispatch dismiss people whose homes are being flooded because the city/county want to play pass the buck with the Corp of Engineers. This could have been dealt with decades ago when it would have been cheaper to do so, but no, local leaders do what they do best and point fingers at each other waiting for "someone else" to do it for them.

And how typical of the Imes Propaganda Machine to waltz on over to praising the Soccer Field that is going to save Columbus, but you seem to have overlooked this is going to require a certain amount of, what was the word you used, "maintenance" too, but it sounds different when you say it out the other side of your mouth, right?

So money doesn't flow this way, huh? And we shouldn't squander it, right? But money blown on a park bench atop a rotting bridge isn't blown money, huh? Wow, that sounds different when you say it out the other side of your mouth too.

And they choose to live there? And I guess the salesperson selling the house told them to buy rubber boots too? Did they choose to live there or was it all they could do with their resources? How slick of you to try to dismiss the local government neglect, and outright laziness, and blame victim. Does the paper also believe that all women who were raped could have stayed home instead of going out? Maybe if she didn't dress up so much the attacker wouldn't have paid her any attention??

Oh but you're a slick one Dispatch, yes you are. Invoke the approval of the flooded with some folk-ish wit about being a river town as if we all have webbed feet or something.

This is the same line of manure you use every time you try to feed the citizens a meadow-muffin. Well Mr. Birney, aka Commercial Dispatch, you can put all the glaze you want on a meadow-muffin, but in the end it's still manure.


Article Comment remy commented at 3/11/2011 9:43:00 PM:

Wow, seriously? It's not worth it because it's not going to make money for someone? What happened to just taking care of the citizens of the town? I bet those people in the subdivision pay taxes to the city. "We agree with Sanders," while I agree the sensors would be a waste of money too, who is "WE"? I agree with Roscoe and what he had to say. This town sounds like a young couple with bills to pay but they'd rather buy new stuff and do other things with their money, other than pay bills and get things fixed because it's not as much fun. I don't live in the Masonic subdivision but I do live close to there. I have ditches on my street that haven't been tended to in the 4 1/2 years that I have lived there and it's clear by their appearance that they have not been tended to in years. City of Columbus, "Do you think you could get someone out there to dig them out?" I mean really, how hard can it be? Maybe a couple of those guys that ride by my house in the city truck towing a trailer looking for leaf bags could do without a guy or two to do some digging, or just get a back hoe. If anyone of you city council or board personnel had a house around any of that I am pretty sure you'd see to it that it got done.


Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 3/12/2011 6:47:00 AM:

Good luck getting much of anything out of the City of Columbus. They are like watching a chicken flap its wings after the head is detached. A whole lot of flapping but short on flying.

The very idea of spending that much money (yes, I know they canned the idea) shows you there is at least ONE person in city gov. that is too stupid to be left unattended for long periods.

A sensor??? Really?? How much you want to bet that particular Einstein would replace his car engine because the rear tire is flat?

Good luck to ya on the ditch. I can't tell you how many times I've seen the truckload of city workers stop, stare at a ditch, and just drive off and never return. They don't clean them out, they don't weed wack them but they will scalp your yard down to the dirt outside of the ditch in the summer. They won't pick the trash up in a ditch. But they can ride the wheels off that truck at 10 mph all over the place.

This is one of the most dysfunctional towns I have ever lived in. You are more likely here to be the victim of shoddy workmanship or city neglect than anywhere I have ever lived before, and all the while they are bragging about being the Jewel of the South.

I don't know about the precious stone part, but I can think of an anatomical term to use instead of Jewel.


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