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Goode cites bad drainage

AHOSKIE – Guerry Goode is no stranger to the Ahoskie Town Council.

Goode, a Baker Street resident, has appeared before Council members numerous times, each in an effort to inform Ahoskie’s elected leaders of what he feels is poor storm drainage in his neighborhood.

“This has been ongoing for 15 years and we’re still having problems,” Goode said during Tuesday’s Council meeting. “Hurricane season is approaching and the time is now to do something about this.”

Goode said he thought the problem was connected with a series of ditches that are not properly maintained by the town. He added that he, his wife and a few neighbors had attempted to clean the ditches themselves, not waiting for the town to do so.

“We feel like we’ve done all we can to protect our investments,” he noted. “Please help me to understand what you, the town, can do for us.”

Town Manager Tony Hammond informed Goode that he and Bryan Lewis (Ahoskie’s Public Works Director) were aware of the problem and were in the process of addressing the issue.

“Bryan has some (prison work detail) inmates coming in next month to clean out the ditch,” Hammond said. “We figured a lot of that work has to be done manually in an area where a backhoe can’t go.”

Hammond added that a proposal is on the table for increasing the drainage pipe size to 48 inches on an 1,100-foot stretch of a ditch running from West Street to Outfall Swamp. That project was projected at $300,000, but Hammond said he, Lewis and the town’s engineering firm were studying ways to cut that cost, hopefully by more than one-half.

“Mr. Goode, we’re not ignoring your problem,” Lewis said, “but we do feel that whatever we do will not completely solve your problem. What we’re hoping to accomplish is to devise a plan that will allow the water to flow out faster, thus leaving your property faster.”

Councilman Ronald Gatling agreed by saying, “Regardless of what we have done and what we are now planning to do, because your property is so low it’s going to flood anytime we get a great amount of rain.”

Gatling also expressed concern over how much money the town had poured into this particular problem over the years, seemingly with no results.

“We’ve already spent over $300,000 on the Horse Swamp project, another $68,000 for a piping project in that neighborhood and now we’re talking about spending another $150,000 for a problem that will never completely go away,” Gatling stressed.

Councilman Gatling suggested that Wooten Company (the town’s engineering firm) officials take a look at the entire area in question before, in his words, “the town spends another dime.”