Larry Todd, a 14-year resident of Tillie Lane in Bethel Twp., says the garden near his back door was destroyed this year because of flooding.
It’s all too common, he said on Friday. Water in the area of Tillie Lane and U.S. 40 accumulates fast and often. After a hard rain or a period of steady rain, Todd said it’s not uncommon to to see water sneak into unwanted areas, like his garage or garden.
“You can look out here and sometimes it’ll be just a couple inches in the ditch,” he said. “And then the next thing you know it’s at your back door.”
Bethel Twp. Trustee Dave Finfrock said the water comes out of nearby farm fields, goes under Tillie Lane, back to a creek about 20 feet east of the road and then on to flood the area of Tillie and U.S. 40.
Finfrock, a trustee leaving office soon after 24 years, said flooding in this area has been an issue for years. He spoke about the issue with county commissioners at last Tuesday’s meeting.
“The new, young people coming in won’t understand that’s going on until there’s a flood,” he asked about combating the problem. “I should have got on it (before) like I am now, but I’m going to work like the devil to get it fixed.”
He said he’d like to construct a swale near the creek east of Tillie Lane.
But Nancy Brown, a trustee of 12 years, said regulations are a little stiffer than that. She said neither township or county officials are allowed to spend money on private property.
“It all comes down to the fact houses were built where they weren’t supposed to be built,” she said. “We’ll continue to try to pick around the edges, but we don’t see anything we can do.”
Brown sought a FEMA grant a few years ago that resulted in the razing of a house on the corner of Tillie and U.S. 40. Water was getting into that home, but Brown said other houses in the area wouldn’t qualify for the grant.
If people in the area are willing to sign a ditch petition, Brown said there could be options, though additional costs to the homeowners make that seem unlikely to evolve into a reality.
If all other avenues are exhausted, Finfrock said he may hire a private contractor and pay for the swale himself.
“I want to see it get fixed,” he said.
Todd said he’ll continue to watch for water.
“I’ve seen it every year,” he said.