Neighbors still dealing with drainage problem

By Lindsey Gordon

Published 07/11 2014 09:55PM

Updated 07/14 2014 10:48AM

CHAMPAIGN -- Neighbors in a northern neighborhood are fed up with poor drainage on their streets. It’s in the Wilbur Heights neighborhood, specifically North Third Street. WCIA-3’s Lindsey Gordon tells us why we’ve heard this story before.

People who live there say, one thing is different: it’s gotten worse. Water which used to take a day or so to drain, now just sits there for months.

John Martin says the flooding started four years ago when the landowner raised the ground where the trucks for Bushman Trucking park. But now, traffic has caused the drain, which is below the surface of the water, to get clogged.

"They really are apologetic for being a part of this problem," said Martin about Bushman Trucking.

Next door at Bushman, they’re tired of the water standing here, too.

"Nobody wants to claim the problem is the issue and so nobody wants to fix it," said Marla Hutcherson, who was also interviewed in a WCIA story in April of 2013.

The city has said it’s the county’s jurisdiction, but the county says it’s up to the city. Back in John Martin’s front yard, he says it’s up to Somer Township. He’s right. Martin says it feels like he and his neighbors have been forgotten.

"We're all tax-paying, law-abiding citizens," he said.

Martin says this exact water has been here since January. Now it’s muddy and mixed with oil and diesel. Every time it rains, he gets that polluted water flowing through his yard.

"I can't get into my yard with a lawnmower unless I want to bury it up to the axle," he jokes.

He says that hardly matters now because his grass will no longer grow. He says he’s talking to his lawyer about what recourse they have to get something done. He says he doesn’t want to move. Even if that happened, he says he wouldn’t be able to get much for his home.

"You wouldn't want to live here, would you?" he said.

Somer Township says it is its road, but it doesn’t have the money to fix it. They say the county is doing a study to figure out how to get rid of the problem. There is no word on when it could be fixed, or who would pay for it.

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