ATHENS Ala. (WHNT) — Residents living on the west side of Athens say existing infrastructure issues in their neighborhood are still being ignored.
Construction for new homes and developments is underway just a few feet from the homes; however, residents on Luke Street are searching for answers.
One of those residents, Sharon Wilson, said the flooding is so bad that she can’t get her elderly, disabled mother to her doctor’s appointments when it rains.
“It had rained so much here that I couldn’t get my mother to dialysis,” Wilson told News 19.
Wilson said on rainy days, water fills the ditch and comes all the way up past her steps. She said she does not want to be forced to take her mother somewhere else to live.
“I took my mom into my home and of course, I do not want to have my mom go to a nursing home because of this problem,” she stated. “Because she has been here for a while, and I think this is a nice place for my mom to live.”
Historic Luke Street and Strain Road still run on a century-old well system. It’s been decades since the ditches and well were cleaned and serviced by the city.
When Wilson and other Luke Street residents did not get an answer from the Athens City Council regarding the repairs, they tried to repair the ditches themselves. While just a few feet away, a multi-million-dollar luxury home development has been approved by city leaders.
“We’ve been to the council meetings, and we talked to the mayor, and nothing has happened,” said Chris Burks, another long-time Luke Street resident. “The flooding will reach almost into the house all the way from the ditch. The ditch hasn’t been cleaned in probably 20 or 30 years.”
Burks says that his neighborhood is being ignored. The ditches are located further away from the homes, but not far enough.
He and the residents have asked for answers from Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks.
A city spokesperson told News 19 in a statement that reads in part, “Mayor Marks has met with residents to discuss issues and is working with various department heads on action plans.”
“I hope it gets fixed because this has been bad all of my life,” said Wilson. “We need it to be fixed and I hope it does get fixed.”
The Athens City Council swore in James Lucas as a new member on Monday night. Mayor Marks says that he has met with Lucas to discuss the Luke Street issues.