Two homeowners and a couple in a rental home in a Jasper neighborhood have faced repeated flooding problems with water coming into their homes in recent years. One of those homeowners, Cindy Sedtal, says that she wants the City of Jasper to step in and assist them with the problem. However, the city says, unfortunately, the flooding begins and ends on private property, and as much as they would like to help, their hands are tied.
Sedtal and her neighbors live on Northwood Drive on the northwest side of town, and the section of land that their mid-1970’s homes sit upon is in a low spot, within a low spot. Sedtal said "Basically, we sit in a bowl, like New Orleans".
The land on three sides of their homes, to the west, north, and east, slopes downward towards them, meaning that all water runoff from rain events flows downhill to their homes before finally flowing off to the south.
According to Sedtal, she and her neighbors have retaining walls, but it’s not enough. Sedtal said a ditch was dug behind the three homes before she ever moved to the neighborhood, but she says it just can’t handle heavy rain events and she’s asking the City of Jasper to deepen that ditch so that it can handle more water. “We all, here on this street, everybody, even the people on the other sides over here, they have retaining walls on their land too for the same reason. We all feel that if they would deepen the ditch and elongate it so that it would cover Miss Wanda’s (another neighbor) land back there, then, yeah, I don’t feel there would be any more problems”.
Jasper City Manager Denise Kelley and Street Department Director Wade Peek spoke to KJAS on Tuesday and they said that they’re searching for a solution to the problem, but they can’t widen the ditch because it’s on private property.
Peek said that he researched back as far as 1996 in city files and he was unable to locate any evidence that a City of Jasper crew performed the work to dig the ditch. Both Peek and Kelley said that although there is a City of Jasper easement behind the houses on Northwood Drive, it is strictly a very thin electrical easement. Peek and Kelley said the only maintenance the city performs is to keep the grass mowed and brush cleared so that city electric crews have good access to the lines and poles in case of a power outage.
Meanwhile, as the city continues to search for an answer, Sedtal and her neighbors hold their breath everytime the area experiences a heavy rainfall.