FLOOD-FATIGUED RESIDENTS DEMAND DRAINAGE FIX
SELMA, Ind. — Residents on a flooded street in Selma urged town officials to revisit longstanding concerns about drainage issues after a summer storm left properties submerged under at least a foot of standing water.
Officials in the Delaware County town, located about 10 miles east of Muncie, called the flooding on Miller Street "entirely weather-related," but impacted homeowners blamed what they described as outdated storm drains.
"Every time it rains, this is what we get," said resident Nikki Crutcher. "When it rains real hard, yes, I can understand [flooding]. But when it rains lightly, it still does it."
She and her husband, Josh Crutcher, moved to Miller Street more than a decade ago. They salvaged what they could from their waterlogged garage and moved into a camper after the latest bout of rain.
The couple's efforts to pump water out of their home were futile. They said they were unable to save their freezer, the food inside or other appliances and valuables in their garage.
"This is a lake now," Josh told WISH-TV, pointing to their yard.
He waded through his backyard and was knee-deep in floodwater by the time he reached a tree approximately 20 feet from his house.
Josh painted a sign on a wood plank to display outside their home: "I'm just a little fish in this pond but I pay my taxes. Fix your storm drains!!!" He signed it, "Veteran."
Breque Van Horn, president of the Selma Town Council and the owner of a similarly flooded property nearby, blamed Mother Nature.
"This is something that only occurs when we have large amounts of unexpected rain," Van Horn told WISH-TV, disputing accounts of excessive flooding on Miller Street following light rain.
However, she admitted the town's storm drains had underlying problems. She declined to elaborate on the issue, a potential solution or a proposed timeline for its resolution.
"I'm new to the board. I've been with the board exactly a year. And since I've been on the board, I've found that we do have drainage issues that we are addressing. But it takes time, it takes funds and I'm working on a 4-year plan to rectify whatever drainage issues we have," Van Horn said.
The Crutchers said they dealt with flooding at least four times a year; a 4-year plan "isn't good enough" for them.
"Right now, I'm working on trying to move stuff out of my garage," said Josh. "I'm done with this town."