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Family seeks solution to ongoing flooding problem

A pair of distressed Collierville residents pleaded with the town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen last month in hopes of resolving an ongoing drainage problem on their property in the Lawnwood subdivision.

Debra Wright, who has lived on the northeast corner of Rhetts Way and E. Lawnwood Drive for nearly 35 years, has been dealing with flooding issues for more than a decade.

In an effort to give the Board a “window into” her family’s life “for the last 15-to-20 years,” Wright said she pays around $500 annually for flood insurance.

“And we don’t even live in a flood zone,” she added. “It isn’t just about water flowing into our garage. It is about the flooding problem in our yard. It has been up to our front door.”

Wright said constant flooding has knocked down the fence in her back yard and water has risen to her screened in porch. She also periodically uses sandbags to protect her house during rainy weather.

“We don’t take vacations together,” she noted, “because someone has to stay home in case the house floods.”

Board members approved $27,507 in future drainage improvements for the property in November. However, Wright is concerned that the upgrades wont work.

“Every member of the Board is very familiar with your plight,” said Mayor Stan Joyner. “It has been approved to make some improvements there. But I don’t think everybody, including the Wrights, have a lot of faith that it is going to work.”

Jay Cravens, director of Development for the town, said construction standards were “very basic in trying to preserve the natural terrain and trees” when the subdivision was first recorded in 1978.

“Drainage calculations were also very basic,” he noted.

In May 2010, the town installed inlets and drainage pipes along the east property to alleviate some of the flooding issues.

“While this helped,” Cravens noted, “due to the limited size of the pipes downstream, short flash flood rain events still cause flooding.”

The recently approved improvements call for the removal of the existing driveway and the installation of nearly 800 square feet of driveway, a driveway apron and a four-inch sewer service.

After Wright addressed the Board, Joyner asked that Town Engineer Dale Perryman remain in contact with the family to possibly come up with an “alternative plan.”

“I’ve spent restless nights praying for the rain to stop,” Wright said, holding back tears. “There is no piece of mind.

“I’m asking each one of you, individually, to do what you can to help us,” she concluded. “We need your very best.”

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