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After 34 years of flooding, neighbors help when city won’t

By Staff | Nov 3, 2008

To the Editor,

My property has suffered water drainage problems for 34 years. The first spring I owned the home, the first heavy rain built-up flooding my back yard, until finally my basement windows succumbed to the pressure and blew out. I spent almost as much money as I had on the purchase of my home fixing this problem. I hired a contractor to come in and dig out a lane between my property and the Dennis Boettcher home. Problem fixed, or, so I thought.

As homes were being built on South Circle Drive (and later North Circle Drive, West Circle Drive, Kings and Queens Drive) we suffered MORE water drainage problems as a result of the new construction – causing what should have been a manageable rainfall of two inches to build up water 6-8 inches deep, three feet wide and running at 20 miles per hour between the two properties. Our basements finally were destroyed. More money, time and energy were lost.

I have been pleading with five different city councils over the past 34 years to fix this problem. At one such meeting, I found one of the councilmen nearly asleep while my case was being presented. At another meeting, we were faced with the opinion that our property was private, and would have to be fixed at a shocking price per home owner. The 20 affected homes were contacted by a letter that made me a public enemy – as the quoted price of $3,000 per homeowner was certainly a burden to my neighbors. Finally, the city administrator, a surveying team and one city council member came to the site to observe the high water running through the two homes. Finally! Though the council member who had witnessed the problem made a plea for it to be corrected by the city, the case was “tabled” – thrown under the rug.

I must mention here, there are drainage problems in other areas of town. It appears they are managed by pumps brought out when heavy rains are forecast. The city owns the pumps and operates them. Our tax dollars pay for the pumps and the labor. These pumps are servicing private property – why was my case different? Where was the pump needed in our neighborhood?

I had no choice but to go to my neighbors to ask for cooperation and help. I quickly realized I had been going to the wrong people all the while. The bulk of the financial cost for fixing this problem once again was mine and Dennis Boettcher’s, but I am happy to report that many of my neighbors stood together, supported us and even chipped in money. We especially want to thank Brian and Terry Wells and Jim and Ann Ekse for letting us dig across their yards to the main storm drain so the water could drain properly. What a pleasure to work with people with common sense, the will to do a good deed and help someone with a problem. The best part is – they smile!

My problem is now solved. Now this home can be sold. I wish the city would consider correcting their mistake, as there are still many issues at hand on the West Circle, South Circle, King and Queens Drives.

We didn’t just fall off a turnip wagon down here – it certainly seems our government is by the people, for some of the people, some of the time. We are not happy with who we voted for in the past. I wanted to share my 34-year struggle with you so you might take an extra moment on Election Day and vote in a person who thinks and acts like a true, good neighbor.

Ron Krieger

Dennis Boettcher

Blue Earth