Rains bring flooding issue to forefront
Mitch Freeman Madison County Record
Not only did severe flooding in the area prompt the federal government to declare Madison County a disaster area, it also prompted Madison resident Terry Ragland to call the city council's attention to the lack of attention his neighborhood gets.
"We have an age old problem in this area," Ragland said.
Ragland, who lives on Stone Street, explained that water comes down from Stewart Street and eventually collects in his back yard. He said that water flooded his wife's beauty shop causing damage and lost work time.
"We are the most neglected area in Madison. I want you to know that," Ragland said. "I want to see something done in my lifetime."
He said that there is a lack of maintenance along the roads and a lack of police patrol in the area.
Skip Adkins, public works director, told the council that he responded to Ragland's complaint and that the drainage system that once worked no longer does.
According to Adkins, houses in Ragland's area are below road level. He said perhaps something could be done to turn water away from Ragland's yard until city engineers can correctly address the problem.
Mayor Jan Wells pointed out that there is a prioritized list of drainage problem areas. However, City Engineer Jo Somers said the problem in Ragland's neighborhood was not on the list.
It is now.
City council member Marc Jacobson suggested the need for regular drainage inspections. Council member David Buschmann commented that people throw grass clippings and other debris into the drainage systems, which causes problems.
Buschmann also said that he had to block off flooded Mill Road with his vehicle until barricades could be put in place. He said a way is needed to immediately close off that road when flooding occurs.
Rusty Russell, director of the Madison County Emergency Agency, summarized initial damages in the area related to the early May storms.
Madison damages had been reported to 16 or 17 residences and two roads.
Russell said that 200 citizens across the county had reported damage to their homes or businesses. He reported that 94 houses were damaged, 22 of which would require major repairs, six mobile homes were totally destroyed and seven had major damage, 11 businesses were damaged, six requiring major repairs, 58 vehicles had major damage and 20 sheds, barns or out buildings were damaged.
Russell advised the city council that now is the time to submit flood mitigation projects for federal funding.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), 32 counties in Alabama, including Madison, qualify for low-interest SBA disaster assistance loans.
Homeowners, renters and business owners should contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 1-800-621-3362 for assistance.
The application deadline for SBA loan assistance is July 11 and the deadline for economic injury applications is Feb. 10, 2004.