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Council tables drainage project

AHOSKIE – Ronald Gatling got his wish.

Back in April, Gatling, an Ahoskie Councilman, said he did not want to see the town spend another dime on drainage issues in the West Street/McKinley Drive area before engineering officials assessed the needs of the entire town.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Town Council, Ahoskie’s elected leaders agreed with their fellow board member.

At the end of a discussion concerning the possibility of spending nearly $170,000 on the West/McKinley project, council members decided to table that issue in lieu of launching a town wide study on drainage problems.

Before a decision was reached, Town Manager Tony Hammond updated Council members on the proposed West/McKinley project, one that called for increasing the drainage pipe size to 48 inches on a 1,100-foot ditch running from West Street to Outfall Swamp.

Based upon experience with drainage issues in Ahoskie, Hammond recommended that Buddy Godwin/GBS Construction be awarded the contact, one totaling $168,087.

“Even with this improvement, it still will not totally solve the flooding problems in that neighborhood,” Hammond said. “There remains additional work to be done there.”

As it was during the April meeting where the issue was discussed, Gatling was not convinced the town was putting its money to good use.

“We’ve spent $468,000 over the years in that neighborhood and now we’re talking about spending more money on a problem that will persist,” Gatling said. “There are other areas of town that need to be studied. If I hadn’t been at home last week when (Tropical Storm) Ernesto came through, I would have needed a sailboat to get to my house after all that rain.”

Gatling pointed to other areas of town that always flood during heavy rains n Catherine, Maple, Gerock and Ruth streets.

“People living in those areas have drainage problems as well,” Gatling said.

“We need to survey these other areas before we do anything on West Street and McKinley Drive,” Councilwoman Elaine Myers said.

There was no further discussion on the issue. No motions were heard to authorize the West/McKinley project.