Article Comment 

Voice of the people: Mike Rathbone

 

 

Resident frustrated with drainage problems 

 

For years now, I have been trying to get the city to address, and fix, a ditch that has repeatedly flooded my mother's yard, carport room and has left water standing under the house, which I am sure is damaging the timbers of the flooring. Let me make this very clear for you: The city is deliberately ignoring a flooding issue that is flooding the property of an elderly widow of a WWII veteran who also suffers from dementia. How is this not being pursued as elder abuse? 

 

About a decade ago, the city came out and cleared the ditch, but this didn't stop the flooding and it has continued every year since. 

 

The city, in particular Mayor Smith, attempts to blame it on the amount of rainfall received, but either he is just ignorant or is attempting to lie his way out of the city's responsibility regarding this ditch. I have seen the yard flooded with just 3/4 of an inch of rain. 

 

The problem occurs when the runoff from upstream is coming so fast that the existing pipes can't handle the load. At that point, the ditch begins to run backwards until it reaches our property and attempts to run backwards to the back of the yard, where it encounters the part of the ditch completely blocked off by the sediment running off of the business behind us owned by Mr. Byars. You'll remember Mr. Byars is the same person who didn't want to remove his bulk gas tanks for a defunct gas station. Mr. Byars has been informed several times about what his runoff has done to the ditch, but so far, he has refused to address it even though he once said he would take care of it. The results are the entire yard goes under water, deep enough to cover the first steps on the back porch, washing away any mulch in the flower beds, damaging the flower beds, damaging the decking of her handicap ramp and leaving a layer of mud in the carport and driveway. 

 

So enter the Mayor, who attempted to wash his hands of the affair by accusing me of having dug this ditch myself, which is just another one of his lies. There was an easement signed by my parents, and the city actually showed up a few times to service the ditch, but now the city -- and the Mayor -- are claiming they have no responsibility for this ditch and are refusing to fix it or cut another ditch to relieve the pressure and are mostly interested in ignoring the whole issue. 

 

How is it possible that a city which claims ownership of a holiday honoring the fallen military can turn right around and do this to his widow? 

 

All parties involved should be ashamed of themselves, assuming that is, that they have any shame at all. 

 

Mike Rathbone 

 

Columbus

 

 

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