In one area of Beckley, residents need help addressing flooding concerns that have been affecting their community for decades.
At the Tuesday, July 12 council meeting, several residents of Hartley Avenue, Hager Street and Hunter Street stated that the city should find a solution to the stormwater drainage issues that flood their properties. They said they have been asking for help from the city for a long time but are being told that nothing can be done.
“When we have a bad rainstorm, it floods my yard, it runs over top of my porch, it has wreaked havoc on my foundation in places and it has almost completely rotted away the foundation on my tool sheds,” said community resident Calvin Moore Jr.
He said if the drains in the area were bigger, they would help carry the water away from homes, but even though he has tried time after time to have city workers look into the issue, they continue to say nothing can be done.
“There is something you can do if you would take the time to find out how to do it,” he stated.
“We need some help down there,” said Beatrice Pannell-Johnson. “It’s getting worse and worse. Sanitation comes, they look and look and look, but there is nothing being done. Some of this money, the CARES money, should be put back into the community for us. Please help us.”
Community resident Adam Smith stated that he too has lived in the area for a long time and that the situation is overwhelming.
He said it was his understanding when they passed the CARES act that hundreds of thousands would be spent on infrastructure, but none of that money has come to his area of Beckley. However, he noted other areas of Beckley that experience flooding have been either fixed or an effort has at least been made to fix their problems.
“None of that money has touched the Hartley, Hager Street area,” he said.
Mayor Rob Rappold responded to the citizens’ concerns by stating that he is aware of the issue and that it has been a problem for a long time, but there is no easy fix. Some estimates on fixing the drainage issues have been as high as $22 million.
“We don’t have the money,” Rappold continued. He added that the city has applied for two different loans through the state revolving fund to complete this project but was denied both times.
He noted that stormwater flows into a pipe that is too small to properly drain the area and that, unfortunately, most of the homes on Hartley Avenue were built over sewer and stormwater lines.
He told those in attendance that several project ideas are in progress and that a community meeting will be held at a later date to discuss them. The first meeting could occur as soon as mid-August.
“We want input from your community. You will be hearing from us,” Rappold said.