When it rains, it pours and floods the Boulevard

By Lynn R. Parks

When Mim Roberts bought her house on Nylon Boulevard three years ago, her neighbor Jerry Scott congratulated her on having bought waterfront property. "She didn't pay attention to me," said Scott. "But the next hard rain we got, I got a phone call. 'I do have waterfront property,' she said."

Scott and his wife Carolyn have lived at Nylon Boulevard and Fleetwood Drive since 1980. Ever since they moved into the neighborhood, he said, a 250-foot section of the street has flooded during hard rains. Water accumulates on the street to over a foot and creeps part-way up his driveway. The flooding in front of Roberts' house is worse, he said. "It comes all the way up my driveway to the garage door," Roberts said. "It comes nearly all the way up the sidewalk and when cars go by, the 'waves' come up to the front door. I'm scared. What happens if I get flooded out?"

City manager Dolores Slatcher said that flooding in that area has been ongoing for a number of years. The storm drain system was installed in the 1960s. "Every time there is heavy sustained rain, the street floods," she said. "It is a matter of clogged catch basins, with grass clippings and leaves. Debris like that can clog up the drain." Slatcher said that the city tries to keep the drains cleaned out. "But if each homeowner would realize that the city doesn't have the manpower to clean every drain, and if they would just take a rake and clean off the drains, it would really help," she said.

"I've gone out there barefoot and cleaned off those drains, and it didn't do any good," said Scott. There are two drains in front of Roberts' house, one across the street from the other. "The last flood we had, there were no leaves on the drains at all." Scott said that the problem is that the 12-inch main that carries water down the street is too small to accommodate all the fluid that feeds into it. "When it is raining really hard, there is no place for the water to go," he said.

Scott said that the flooded street is unsafe. "Kids go fast down this street and when they hit the water, it is just like hitting a brick wall," he said. "They will do damage to themselves, to their cars and to property along the street." In addition, he said, drivers cannot see where the street is - Roberts has a picture of a car about to pull from the flooded street into a flooded yard - or stall out in the street, their engines flooded with rainwater. "And I have quit helping them out," said Scott. "If they are stupid enough to drive on a flooded road, they don't deserve help."

Scott is also concerned that, if emergency vehicles needed to get down the street during a flood, they would not be able to do so. And if a new fire hall is built at the corner of Atlanta Road and Fleetwood Drive, on land owned by the fire company, volunteer firefighters who try to get there by way of a flooded Nylon Boulevard could have problems.

Both Scott and Roberts would like reassurance from the city that something will be done to stop the flooding. "There is a problem here," said Scott. "I know that the city has to do things in phases; they did [new storm water drains on] Sussex Avenue and will soon do Pennsylvania Avenue. If they could just tell us that they are going to get out here in the next couple of years, that would be OK." "I hope it gets fixed," added Roberts. "We pay our taxes to the city for them to fix problems just like this one."

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