Riverside residents concerned about flooding; city says hands are tied

Miami Valley News

RIVERSIDE, Ohio (WDTN) – Heavy rain left high water in its wake Tuesday in Riverside, and residents say this isn’t the first time it’s happened either.

“They keep saying they are working on a plan to fix this problem. Well, they’ve been telling us that for over 20 years,” said Susan Schulker, a Riverside resident since 1986.

Some people are stuck inside their homes — not by choice — but due to significant flooding on Marianne Drive. Neighbors that spoke with 2 NEWS said that the flooded area is largely an elderly community.

“I called the neighbors to see if they were okay and nobody was leaving. Can’t drive through it, can’t walk through it … so we’re stuck back here,” said Nancy Thies, a Riverside resident since 1995.

Residents say their top concern is safety, especially if there’s an emergency. Many said they canceled doctors appointments and called family members to help deliver medications.

“Well, I have a great nephew who lives with me. He has to get to school tomorrow — he goes to Sinclair — but the water is like this and you can’t get through it. It’s not fair to him, he’s pretty upset about it but there’s not a lot I can do about it,” said Beverly Nartker, a Riverside resident since 1961.

Kathy Bartlett, Riverside’s public service director, said there have been reports of flooding and the city’s service team is working on it. She said that several crews have been out to the flooded areas but there isn’t a lot that can be done right now.

“The city budget doesn’t have that money, we’re talking over $1 million to even start to think about fixing this and the city doesn’t have that money in their city budget annually to tackle this,” said Bartlett.

Bartlett said that the problem along Marianne Drive is a lack of storm drains, which forces the community to rely on wells throughout the area. Roughly 10 years ago, officials left the decision to install storm sewage systems to the community but the increase to property taxes was rejected.

“We’ve had a history of problems here. Back over 10 years ago there was a ballot issue put to the voters in this area to try and construct an actual storm sewer that would solve this problem. It would fall back to the residents in this area, and they voted it down,” said Bartlett.

Right now, Public Works said in order to obtain the necessary funds to fix the issue of residential flooding the city will either have to increase taxes or charge a fee that’ll be paid by residents.

“We don’t have a means to do anything about it besides wait it out and the water will recede in time, but our hands are tied,” said Bartlett.

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