Opp residents speak out on drainage issues

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 11, 2016

At least two Opp residents are speaking out about drainage issues within the town.

Lynn Stone-Spann said her mother has lived in her Opp home for more than 40 years.

Shown is the home of Mrs. Stone in Opp near Burger King after Monday’s rains.                                Courtesy photo

Shown is the home of Mrs. Stone in Opp near Burger King after Monday’s rains. Courtesy photo

“Mom and Dad never had an issue with water until the city put in new drainage pipes there at Burger King,” she said. “It wasn’t long after that she got 3 feet of water in her home.”

Spann said her mother had to crawl out the front window to escape.

“FEMA helped mom get her home restored but lived with me for over three months, while Paul Catrett Construction got her house repaired,” Spann said. “Mom was forced to get flood insurance even though she really wasn’t in a flood zone. It wasn’t a year before the same thing happened again. This time she rented a small home in town while her home was once again torn out and repaired.”

Spann said her mother lost all her furniture and other items.

“My mom (who is 81) is a good person and would not sue the city for damages,” she said. “That was probably 10 years ago, but every time it rains a lot, the water comes up her backyard and she gets afraid. Just like (Monday), it almost got her home again. The city does not properly maintain the ditch around the drainage pipes therefore it does not take much for them to get blocked up and flood everything. It’s just not acceptable. This is not a flood area, but it is poor engineering of the drainage system from the beginning.”

Lea Mercer Harrod who lives in District 4 on Barnes Street.

“We live right on the creek on Barnes Street in Opp,” she said. “In two years, we’ve lost 25-plus fee of land due to erosion, which is the city’s problem to fix. They’ve been called out numerous times about it.”

Harrod said every time, they get the same answer, “waiting on grant money.”

“I see other things getting done in other parts of town, but nothing is getting done for us, and our problem is serious,” she said. “When we bought our house in June of 2014, our yard went all the where the second metal steak is on the bridge. One more flood and our garden will be down the creek somewhere. We literally watched three huge pieces of land get washed away Monday.”

Harrod said this happened in seven minutes of the rain starting here on Monday, and that’s before it got higher than that.”

The rains prompted Harrod to pack a bag, she said.

Harrod said she talked to the city in December and they were waiting on FEMA.

“They said we were on the list – whatever list that may be,” she said. “Councilwoman Mary Brundidge has also gotten on board with us to try and get it fixed.”

Harrod said she wants to know why the city would spend un-godly amounts of money to renovate the depot, which in her opinion, serves no functioning purpose, but would risk tax-paying citizen’s homes.

“What’s most important,” she said. “The people or a building?”

In June, the council agreed to apply for a nearly $500,000 grant for sewer drainage improvements. If received, the grant money would go for improvements on Barnes Street.

Mayor John Bartholomew said on Wednesday that the city had not yet heard back from the grant yet, but they have tried multiple times to get the grant to help fix the sewer and drainage there.

On Tuesday, City Planner Jason Bryan said he thought the flooding near Burger King and around town was a result of a 100-year rain or flood, but acknowledged that there was some areas in town that needed the drainage infrastructure upgraded.