Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

June 4, 2013

Villagers want flooding problem fixed

Bill Grimes Daily News
Effingham Daily News

---- — DIETERICH — A group of people who live on Vine Street in Dieterich implored the Dieterich Village Board to do something about periodic flooding on their block.

Berdeena Leturno asked the board to consider an ordinance that would enable property owners to buy flood plain insurance. Mrs. Leturno said she is concerned the floods are creating a health hazard at her home.

“The damage is more than the $600 a year for flood insurance,” she said. “We’re willing to pay it.”

“Six hundred (dollars) is nothing,” added neighbor Stan Russell. I have $20,000 worth of stuff ruined because it’s full of water and mud.”

But a number of village officials said a flood insurance ordinance might go against the greater good.

“I was always told passing a flood plain ordinance decreases property values,” said Trustee Jo Ann Donaldson.

Village President Brad Hardiek said there was that danger. Hardiek added that Vine Street property owners are in a tough situation, especially if they want to sell their home.

“The bank won’t loan anything for that home unless they (the buyers) have flood insurance, and they can’t buy flood insurance unless they own the home,” Hardiek said. “It’s a Catch-22. There are pros and cons both ways.”

Russell suggested the creek that runs through Dieterich can be cleaned up to enhance the flow of water away from their homes.

“I’d rather get it out in the country,” he said. “If they lose 10 acres, whoopity crack. It wouldn’t be anything near what I have lost.”

Vine Street resident Nick Fewkes suggested that the problem lies downstream — south of the village — where he said vegetation clogs the creek on a regular basis.

“What’s more important?” Fewkes said. “Water in people’s homes, or water out in a field?”

Russell said he has spent $5,000 from his own pocket for repairs.

“I’m beyond aggravated about it,” he said.

Trustee Paul Field said the board should develop a comprehensive flood prevention plan that would include cleaning under bridges. Field said he would have trouble supporting a flood plain ordinance.

“You get flood insurance, but everybody else gets hurt,” Field said. “The ordinance could cause a lot of problems later on.”

The board took no action on the issue Monday, but Village Clerk/Economic Development Coordinator Brittny Gipson said she would contact the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in an effort to develop a solution.

Trustee Steve Kibler said there won’t an overnight solution.

“It’s not going to be a quick fix,” Kibler said.

“We understand that,” said Scott Leturno. “But my yard has turned into a skating rink because of all the mud.”

In action taken Monday, the board agreed to remove exposed drainage tile from the lot of Bob and Alice Zumbahlen, as well as test the drain to see if it is connected to the new tile.

The Zumbahlens live on Fayette Avenue near the village’s industrial park. The couple sold the village land on which the industrial park now sits.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.