Backed-up alley causing Richmond residents problems

Neighbors tired of waiting for alley fix

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Neighbors in Richmond’s Washington Park are calling out the city again over an old problem.

A messy alleyway has been an ongoing issue for residents in the area, but they say the only response they can get is visual inspections.

When it rains the alley fills with water, sometimes for days, but nothing has been done to address the problem long-term.

Blanche Morris lives on Cheatwood Avenue and says the alley near her home in the 800 block has been a problem for years, but the fixes have been minimal and temporary.

“Every three months they are doing Play-Doh and Elmer’s glue,” Morris said. “That’s what they’re putting down because when it rains or gets hot, it melts and that’s what they give us out here.”

Richmond residents have been asking for help for years, but a permanent fix has proved elusive.
Richmond residents have been asking for help for years, but a permanent fix has proved elusive. (Source: Tynes, Brian)

Residents said complaints have been filed for 15 years.

Morris said the last time a public works crew came, they put down some asphalt, but the crew didn’t have enough and didn’t return to finish the job.

“They tell me the same thing over and over,” Morris said. “We’re going to send someone out here. We’re going to do this and we’re going to do that and we get nothing done.”

City officials said in an email that the alleyway is in fair condition, but conceded that it does have some low spots that hold water. But the city said the water does drain.

Jimmy Hill said the water drains because does the work himself to keep it from backing up into his home.

“It’s really bad because you don’t know when it’s going to back up enough to start to go under your house,” Hill said.

Hill rakes away the debris and unclogs the drain so the area will be clear for the next time it rains. However, he said gravity works against those efforts.

“This area is lower than the drain – that’s about 2 inches lower than the drain,” Hill said. “It’s not that I’m fussing about it. Just give me a little help. You pay taxes and all the rest of that. I’d like to know what the taxes are doing.”

The next step for residents in this area is to call on their city council representative.

A Public Works official said a crew will go into the alley and sweep away the dirt and silt, but could not say when that work would be completed.

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