Flood Victims Blame Clogged Culverts, Ditches

By Cheryl Lasseter

Sunday's downpours left quite a mess Monday in

Vickie Stanford says her home on Trojan Drive
was flooded inside due to a drainage problem
outside. "You see that water line on the fence?"
she says, standing on the roadway near her back
yard and pointing to a water line, roughly 8
inches high, on her fence.

Vickie blames the drainage ditch that runs along
the back of her property. She says the city
doesn't maintain it, so it's clogged with rocks
and debris, and she says that's why her property
got flooded.

Residents in the Pine Park neighborhood across
town are upset about the flooding too. One
homeowner points to a partially completed
culvert project. "They come in, and as you can
see, they left a mud hole," he says. While talking
to WLBT News, a city public works official drives
by and chats briefly with the homeowner, but
then drives away. "He is the Director of Public
Works for the city of Pearl. That's the kind of
response we get, he throws his hands up and
drives off," the homeowner says.

But the Mayor, Jimmy Foster, agrees to come
out and look at the problem. "There's the wood
fence down there that dams the ditch up and
holds most of the water back from going on
through," he says. "Then you've got the
telephone poles." Foster says the city is trying
to get permission to move the homeowner's
fence and telephone pole that are blocking the
culvert. But the Pine Park neighborhood is in a
flood zone, and flooding will occur. "There's not
much more we could to maintain it other than
enlarging the culvert that we were talking about
at the big ditch, to let more water through, and
then getting this telephone pole and the fencing
out of the way. And we're going to do that, we're
trying to get that done."

Homeowner Tess Ellis has the flooding damage
on tape. Her family is living in a hotel while their
belongings dry out. They have flood insurance,
but Tess wants the city to act quickly on
drainage problems. "Now that it's done flooded
our house and we have to live in a hotel for
weeks, what do we do? We're the community.
They're supposed to be trying to help us, instead
of building a dang library," she says.

Mayor Foster says the city is listening to the
homeowner's complaints, and will fix whatever
problems it can.