A rare overflow crowd attended the City Board’s August 1, 2023 meeting. The main topic of interest was the serious, repetitive flooding and drainage issues on Main Street.
Mr. Joel Bennett, current owner of the Henderson building, addressed the board and crowd of onlookers, providing photos, video and other demonstrations which effectively underscored the need for action to control Camp Creek’s frequent flooding. During the 11 months he has owned and spend money renovating the Henderson building, it has flooded six times with water, mud and other waste accumulations from Camp Creek. Each flood has cost him unplanned time and money in his renovation. He believes that resolving this issue would be good for the whole town in many ways, including the tax revenue that would come from the Henderson Building once renovations are complete.
Bennett expressed his frustration with trying to get municipal authorities to undertake an adequate, permanent solution for the problem. The building’s previous owner, Jean Ashcraft, stated that she had been dealing with the drainage problem since 1996. Although not an engineer, Mr. Bennett believes that it might be possible to come up with a practical solution that could solve the problem and save the city money. While he made some suggestions along this line, he noted that this problem is not his (nor other business owners’) problem to solve. They do not have the funds or authority to solve this municipal problem. At one point during his presentation he asked whether the Board’s goal for New Albany is to emulate Oxford or Ashland, and he repeatedly expressed his mantra, “Please, fix the ditch!”.
Owners of other affected downtown businesses also made brief comments to the Board on the subject of damages, their expenses for preventative measures, etc. Additionally, one possible new business owner expressed reservations about going ahead, in light of this long-standing problem.
Bennett pointed out that on Monday, just one day prior to the August Board meeting, a crew from M and M Underground Video Inspection Service went to the Tanglefoot Trail bridge to help with severe flooding of Camp Creek Branch. Using specialized equipment, they removed silt and rocks that were blocking the water flow in the culverts under Main Street. There is a plan to add grates upstream at the culverts to prevent the intake of further debris. The most recent flooding was said to have been worsened by timber cutting on property between Bankhead Street and the railroad. Mr. Bennett expressed the commonly held doubt that these efforts would adequately affect the problem, and said “Please, fix the ditch.”
Alderman Parks Smith responded to Mr. Bennett’s presentation with the information that the Board has been seriously considering this problem for a long while and have studied the problem extensively. At the end of the meeting, Mayor Kent said that they want a hydraulic model update in an effort to make sure the problem is solved.
Other routine business including plans to rebuild a burned out house, Light Gas & Water grants, appropriations, gas services, etc, and other departmental reports followed the drainage discussion.
A notice will soon be published for the public budget hearing for the upcoming year 2024.
The Board will convene again at New Albany City Hall on September 5, 2023.
Meeting Agenda: NEMiss City Board Agenda 8-2023
Video link to full details of meeting (KennyS Studio)- https://youtu.be/
Circa 2015: beginning to address Camp Creek problems: https://nanewsweb.com/century-ride-coming-closer-as-grant-awarded-to-extend-trail/