Homeowner asks city’s help with storm water washing over her property

NEMiss.News Cindy Baker addresses aldermen
New Albany homeowner Cindy Baker speaks at city board meeting, September 2.
September 13th, 2021     Featured News Government & Politics




Homeowner Cindy Baker asked the New Albany Board of Aldermen last week for help with storm water washing over and around her property.

Baker’s said storm water had been flowing around and under her home at 415 South Acre for a number of years and had caused structural damage. The 415 South Acre property sits about 300 feet east of U.S. Highway 15.

Baker told the board the floor joists and flooring of her home had been damaged over time by water standing under her house.

The terrain surrounding the house is all of higher elevation, creating a situation in which 415 South Acre and other nearby houses stand at the bottom of a natural bowl. Rainwater flowing downhill from all directions, 360 degrees of the compass, ends up in the general area where Baker’s house is located.

A man who lived as a child in the neighborhood before the houses were built, told NEMiss.News that after heavy rains neighborhood children used to frolic in the shallow water that would collect in a pool were the Baker home and others now stand.

A ditch runs east-to-west downhill from Highway 15 at the north edge of Baker’s lot. Another ditch, where the city installed a concrete storm drain a few decades ago, runs generally west-to-east downhill from Hillcrest Drive to Baker’s property. It can be observed in one of the photographs below that the fill dirt has eroded on the south side of that west-to-east concrete storm drain. Still a third nearby ditch runs generally south-to-north and delivers rainwater less than a hundred feet north of the Baker property.

Fourth Ward Alderman Will Tucker told NEMiss.News that he and Street Department Director Johnny Payton had been to Baker’s home and had walked the ditch running from Highway 15 all the way east to the highway. Tucker said that a culvert which shunts water from still further east had been installed under Highway 15 when that roadway was doubled two to four lanes several years ago.

Tucker said the city had previously installed a double culvert under Baker’s driveway to help carry away the rain water.

During Baker’s calm, respectful presentation to the city board at its Tuesday, Sept. 7 meeting, she distributed photographs and drawing to illustrate the problem that caused the floors of her house to rot away. The damage was apparently caused by “dry rot,” a fungus that destroys the fibrous structure of wood that is above standing water for extended periods of time.

Baker said she had brought the problem to the attention of her casualty insurance company, which told her she should take it to the city board.

City Attorney Regan Russell told Baker she could file a claim with the city’s insurance carrier. Russell said City Clerk Frankie Roberts would help Baker file her claim. Russell also asked Baker to stay in communication with Alderman Tucker regarding the problem.

In other action at the Sept. 7 Board of Aldermen meeting:

  • The board approved requests from Lights, Gas and Water Director Bill Mattox for payments to contractors totaling $225-thousand dollars for work on the waste water treatment plant, nearing completion north of the city.
  • The board approved the recommendation of Community Development Director Billye Jean Stroud to hire Justin Bartlett to replace Emily Draffen, who resigned as manager of the Magnolia Civic Center.
  • Police Chief Chris Robertson recommended hiring London Jordan to fill a vacancy on the police department. The board unanimously approved.
  • Fire Chief Mark Whiteside requested an additional $7,747 for work to complete the upstairs portion of the new addition to Fire Station Number 2, and the board approved.
  • The board set a public hearing for October 5 to consider the request by Billy and Martha Kate Wiseman to rezone 1154 Martintown Road from C-2 to R-1.
  • The board approved and the mayor read aloud a proclamation memorializing New Albany businessman and civic leader Tommy Sappington, who died in August.

The City Board of Aldermen will next meet on Tuesday October 5, 2021.

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