By Valerie Werkmeister
The Town of Poseyville hopes to alleviate its flooding woes with the aid of a Focus Fund grant through the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). Residents on the southeast portion of town have endured flooding problems due, in part, to a lack of storm water drainage inlets. Debbie Bennet-Stearsman, a grant administrator for the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana, presented an outline during a public hearing on March 13.
Poseyville is requesting a $500,000 grant to build a new storm water system. The town will pay $100,000 utilizing its own sewer operating funds bringing the total project cost to $600,000. Eric Smith from Hannum, Wagle and Cline engineering firm in Terre Haute explained the scope of the project. He stated the new system will be built in the right-of-way along South Sharp Street. It will include more drainage inlets and pipes as big as 48-inches in diameter to accommodate the water flow.
A few residents who are greatly impacted by flooding during heavy rains spoke at the public hearing. Charles Johnson of 218 S. Sharp Street stated he is glad to see this project moving forward and it gives him hope. He has experience flooding at his residence for the past seven years. With the aide of the fire department, he has had as much as 100,000 gallons of water pumped out of his yard.
His children and pets are unable to go out in the yard and he has also sustained mold damage to his home. His driveway floods to the point that it is not visible.
He added that he attempts to keep leaves and debris out of the former railroad ditch to help alleviate flooding.
Joe Jenkins of 68 S. Sharp Street stated that his property gets flooded due to water run-off from Sharp Street. Although he built his house 12 inches higher to combat the flooding, his yard is still subject to the problem. He also stated that his children and pets are unable to use their yard following rains.
Justin Collins spoke on behalf of Collins Body Shop at 120 S. Cale Street. He was concerned that the scope of the project would not be far reaching enough to benefit their location. He stated their property gets water run-off from Oak Street and it will enter their building. They are forced to shovel the debris and haul it away once the water recedes. Clean-up following flooding takes extra time away from their business.
Smith explained there would be an inlet at Dean Street to accommodate the water run-off. Collins stated the water run-off from Cale runs down to Oak Street due to the road paving raising the elevation. The water isn’t able to reach the inlet due to the road elevation. Smith stated they would review the problem to determine the best solution.
Posey County Commissioner Jerry Walden and Posey County Economic Development Director, John Taylor, voiced their support for the project.
The proposal will be submitted later this month and a second public hearing is scheduled in May. Residents impacted by flooding in this area are asked to write letters in support of the project. Pictures showing the impact of the flooding may also be submitted at the town hall. The official grant application must be submitted by May 31.
Officials anticipate the grant award date on August 31. However, if the grant is not approved, Poseyville will have to wait until the following year to submit another proposal.
By Valerie Werkmeister
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