New Albany residents say city neglect caused their properties to flood
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Flooding hit a New Albany neighborhood hard over the weekend and you can still see some of the water line marks on the side of a church at the corner of 15th and East Elm Streets.
The pastor says behind the building are reminders of all the damage.
The furniture is stacked and fans are turned on to dry out any remaining water inside Unfinished Church. That's the name of the 18,000 square foot church on East Elm Street, which now smells like mildew.
"To our dismay the entire building had water two or three inches deep," said Pastor Gary Arnold.
Arnold gave WDRB a tour of the damage on Monday and point to an issue outside that he thinks may lie with the city.
"It seems like I've noticed this area -- that a sinkhole that keeps caving in you can see fresh asphalt has been put on it,” said Arnold. “I don't know if there's an issue with the storm drains."
There's a similar issue just across the street.
“It happened Saturday night," said Courtney Casey, referring to her apartment that flooded over the weekend.
Casey lives with her boyfriend Matt Brightman and their two-year-old son. Their apartment was right next to an open broken manhole that's been covered up with a stop sign.
"I just worry about the kids going over the top of it and getting hurt more than anything. I didn't expect it to flood like that," said Brightman.
"I think that shows the negligence of the city," said Casey.
She took several pictures of the flooding on Saturday and says if the manholes and sewers were fixed they wouldn't have to leave.
"I'm forced to move to Jeffersonville now because that's the only property my landlord had,” said Casey. “We have no bed to sleep on because it was soaked in sewage water, half of my son's toys got destroyed in the water as well."
Trains are another big problem, 15th Street has tracks right down the middle of it and residents say, several years ago, the tracks were raised.
When it rains, they say the water just runs off and doesn't properly drain. CSX says it will look into the issue but neighbors just want the city to fix it.
"Hopefully the city will just step up and do what they're supposed to be doing for the citizens here," said Casey.
"It could've been prevented you know, if they had fixed whatever was wrong," said resident Esther Cunningham.
Joseph Ham with the New Albany Stormwater Department says flooding in the area has been documented before, and there's a 36” pipe under 15th Street that's failing. That failure is also causing sinkholes up and down the street.
Ham says the city will replace about 2,000 feet of failing pipe with a 60-inch concrete pipe sometime later this year, and it'll take crews about 2-3 months.
Ham says the New Albany Stormwater Board approved the $2 million fix about two years ago.
He also tells WDRB that the city did not authorize a stop sign to be put over the open manhole, but it does have a contractor working to put a metal plate in its place.
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