12 ON YOUR SIDE: Drainage problem in alleyway

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A resident called 12 for help when a 15-year fight over an alley in the 800 block of Cheatwood Avenue in Northside went nowhere.

There are several bad alleys near Cheatwood Avenue that could benefit from paving or resurfacing. Blanche Morris called us about the alley behind her home.

Water-filled potholes make perfect bird baths in the middle of the Cheatwood Avenue alley. Depending on the angle, it resembles a small shallow pond.

Morris said it takes three or four days to drain, making the alley a reliable water source for animals. The mud nuisance sticks around longer with snow.

"This is nothing but black mud that's going down this alley," said Morris. "This is our only access to get into our driveway, is to come through the alley."

She points to an old newspaper article and bristles at the money the city spends on cobblestone alleys when all she wants is 200 yards resurfaced.

We came back a second time, again on a rainy day, and found it muddy, dirty and not draining - but, the $300,000 green alley, one of four in Richmond, doesn't hold water. It drains just fine.

"They send people down. They say there's nothing wrong with the alley. That the water is draining. It's draining so slow. It'll be next August before it dries out."

The city said it sent out a crew Tuesday, but didn't find any mud or puddles, given Monday's rain. Turns out, they went to the wrong address.

"I pay my taxes. It looks like I could get something better than this."

It appears she will. A city spokesperson also said, if there's an erosion problem, they want to fix it.

Blanch is now connected to one public works employee working to solve her problem.

There are actually five green alleys around Richmond, including one connecting Schafer and North Laurel, constructed by VCU and maintained by public utilities.

If your alley is in terrible shape and needs repairs, call customer care at 311, or 804-646-7000.

You can also make a complaint at RichmondGov.com, just fill-out a citizen's request form.

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