Athens residents voice concerns over drainage system issues

WAFF 48's Romario Gardner reporting
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 11:46 PM CDT
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ATHENS, Ala. (WAFF) - Residents on the west side of Athens believe they’re being overlooked when it comes to drainage concerns.

Larry Coleman lives on Westmoreland Avenue, a street notorious for flooding, and he said he is urging city leaders to take a deeper look into helping residents. “Most times they might say they’re coming, but they might not,” Coleman said.

Alyssa Wasson, another resident who lives on the west side, said the drainage issues can be detrimental.

“When it rains for days and days heavy, heavy rain. All of these ditches will just overflow and it’ll go over the road and it will look like we have ponds for yards,” said Wasson.

Mayor Ronnie Marks acknowledged that part of the town faces constant flooding concerns. He said the city is actively working to secure funds for a project aiming to improve the area.

“It is a wide area that needs attention and has needed attention for my goodness, 50 years,” said Mayor Marks.

He said The Vine Street project will include pipes to help alleviate drainage concerns, road resurfacing, and new sidewalks. It will be a multi-street project involving Vine Street, Westmoreland Avenue, Browns Ferry Road, Bailey Steert, and Hardy Road.

The city received a $500,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to help with the project’s original estimated cost of $1.1 million last year. That price is now $1.8 million following the increase in the cost of materials and a shortage in supplies.

“You know, we’re disappointed with rising costs but it’s an area that needs attention and we’re going to give it the attention,” said Marks.

There is no confirmation where the additional money will come from, but the Mayor said it will be part of the city revenue stream depending on the city council’s approval.

The mayor said he expects the project to go to bid in the summertime, and it will take six months to complete.

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