Commissioners to seek storm water grant for New Trenton
By John Estridge, Editor
A flooding problem in New Trenton has been ongoing for decades.
Residents have been at the last two Franklin County Commissioners' meetings with the subject front and center.
This time the commissioners listened and have a plan to thwart the continued flooding once and for all.
Water pours into the town from New Trenton Hill Road, spilling over, not only on properties along the road but others that are adjacent to U.S. 52 as well as across U.S. 52 toward the Whitewater River.
Commissioners are holding a special meeting concerning a possible stormwater grant at 10 a.m., Wednesday, June 20. On the notice for the special meeting, it states “applying for a grant on stormwater improvements through Southeastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (SIRPC) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
The meeting will be held in the commissioners’ meeting room. SIRPC writes grants for the county and some incorporated towns within the county.
At the May 15 meeting, a resident who lives along the hill said the county changed the drainage area running along the road from an open, drainage ditch to a closed ditch, with insufficient tile to take the water away from the area. He said the water is going onto his property and others along the hill. It is also causing problems in town.
Commissioner Eric Roberts, who is the District I commissioner, which includes New Trenton, said he and the District I road foremen were in New Trenton by Sacksteders store during an average rain. He said a large amount of water ended up at Sacksteders from a street beside it and it exhibited some of the same problems as New Trenton Hill.
He said any talk of fixing the situation would have to include piping the stormwater to the Whitewater River. He said it will be an extensive project.
At the June 5 commissioners’ meeting, New Trenton resident Don Johnson wanted to vacate an unimproved alley, which runs through his property. Johnson owns both sides of the alley.
Johnson was represented at the meeting by Lowell “Teen” McMillin.
McMillin, in his presentation, said the county could have a utility easement where the alley is currently. Thus, if the county ever has to place water, sewer or stormwater pipes beneath that area, they can do it.
County highway engineer Joe Copeland said stormwater is not always thought of as a utility so any agreement would have to specify that stormwater is part of the utility agreement.
Several people in attendance at the meeting said the alley vacation should not go through because of the stormwater situation and also because the public uses the ally for walking. Where it connects to U.S. 52 is one of the best places to cross the busy highway, several people said.
Eventually, the commissioners unanimously denied the vacation application saying the stormwater situation was a major factor in their decision.
At the June 5 meeting, commission president Tom Wilson suggested the county look at the Ander-sonville project as way to fix New Trenton’s problem.
Several years ago, the county received a matching grant to put an infrastructure in place in Anderson-ville to alleviate its storm- water problems.
Andersonville is very flat so the flooding waters stayed around for quite some time.
Since the project was completed, there have not been any complaints from the Andersonville residents concerning stormwater problems.
Roberts said he did a study of the situation and Andersonville and New Trenton have about the same number of residences and businesses.
“That project cost $350,000 roughly with a 10 percent local match,” Roberts said. “So, that’s $35,000. The county came through and paid the $35,000. If council does not allow that expenditure, it would have to come from various landowners to do a stormwater type project.”
Roberts said he believes just about everyone in New Trenton would agree there is a stormwater problem in New Trenton.