NEWTON GROVE — Town leaders are looking for ways to tackle a flooding issue in town.
During its Monday meeting, Mayor Gerald Darden and the Board of Commissioners discussed roads and ditches overflowing from recent rainstorms and Hurricane Matthew. One of the heavily discussed areas was West Grove Street.
A community meeting will be held soon concerning the issue. Commissioner Steve Jackson said it’ll give people in the area a chance to put “their two cents in” on the situation.
“The ditching over there is just horrible,” Jackson said. “It floods all the time.”
Commissioner Cody Smith added that West Grove and Church streets need maintenance, among other areas, such as the watershed. He suggested that the town look into having a study with Sampson County officials to divert water away from West Grove.
While addressing the board, about other matters such as paving needs and potholes on Weeksdale Street, as well as others, Smith said an independent contractor needs to clean the ditches.
Darden added that farmers who tend some of the areas, near 701 Highway should be responsible. He questioned if it should be a town issue if the areas are on private property.
“Even though it’s on private property, it’s taking watershed from the streets,” Smith said. “We’re responsible for it.”
Darden added that it may be a case of “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”
But Smith stressed that the issue has to be dealt with, one way or another. One recommendation included writing letters to landowners about cleaning the ditches.
“Somebody has to deal with it because the flooding that we keep having, it keeps reoccurring …,” he said. “And I’ve seen it flood behind my house twice in my life, since I’ve moved here.”
One of those moments included Hurricane Matthew. Smith said he was bugged about ownership, litigation matters and water arriving from other areas.
“It’s all watershed,” he said. “It’s a watershed for cropland and woodland, a mile away,” he said. “We own the property and everybody got a piece of the pie all the way down the line.”
Darden said the town is waiting to hear back from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist with pipe maintenance. If approved, a study will be required too.
“We’ll look at it and see what we’ll can do,” Darden said.
Reach Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.