Homeowners feel ignored, claim improvement project led to flooding

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What started out as an improvement project turned into a mess on the streets of one Central Indiana neighborhood.

When they claim they didn’t get any help from the city, the neighbors called us to get answers.

“Nobody would help us. And I see your stories a lot and how you help people,” said Joyce Rhoades, who lives near Sherman Drive and Denny Street on the east side.

She said her neighborhood has been turned upside down by contractors who are installing new sidewalks and handicap accessible ramps.

“After they got done, they left all of the sand and dirt and nails out here and we had to come out here with wheelbarrows and get it full just so we could get around back and park,” Rhoades said.

Neighbor Larry Hayes is furious about the new drain.

“Water has to go up on my sidewalk before it drains. So it floods the whole intersection here,” Hayes said.

They took pictures of how it has flooded since they changed from a drain that is on the side of the curb to one that is flat on top of the sidewalk.

“It is going to get iced up this winter and somebody is going to slip and fall and they’re going to sue me,” Hayes said.

Rhoades said she feels her complaints to the city are being ignored because she’s in a low-income neighborhood.

“Because it doesn’t matter around here. Plain and simple, it doesn’t matter around here,” Rhoades said.

We took the neighbors’ complaints to the Department of Public Works and a public information officer actually showed up in the neighborhood to see what they were talking about. That officer, Lesley Gordon, instructed a contractor to go out to address the concerns about debris and drainage.

“We did some proactive work and vacuumed out one of the drains to help with the drainage flow in the future,” Gordon said.

Only time will tell if that helps, Gordon said.

“We’re going to monitor that one and wait for a significant rain so we can see if there are any other assessments we need to do or improvements,” Gordon said.

They also cleaned up the trash that had been piling up.

“I don’t know who has been cleaning up the trash pile. It is half way gone now,” Rhoades said.

Gordon said they want people to know that they do care, which is why they were doing the sidewalk improvements in the first place.

“We definitely are aware of the area and want to get it right,” Gordon said.

Through “Rebuild Indy,” the Department of Public Works has installed more than 6,000 ramps that meet the “Americans with Disabilities Act” standards, Gordon said.

She stressed that they do listen to the complaints sent into the Mayor’s Action Center and that submitting a request through their website is the best way handle this type of problem.