Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Worried homeowner voices concerns about eroding drainage ditch

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BATON ROUGE - There's a drainage ditch on California Street that has one property owner worried. He says the ditch was dug by the City-Parish years ago and it never finished the job. Now, it's eroding. 

"Those barricades have been there now for about three weeks," Vernell Jones told 2 On Your Side.

A handful of barricades were placed around a deep hole near the front of Jones' property about three weeks ago. Jones is concerned those barricades will be there forever. 

"Y'all need to do something with the hole because we have kids in the neighborhood running around. They fall in there it's going to be a big problem," he said. 

A storm drain on California Street feeds water from the street into a ditch that's along Jones' property. A ditch, he learned had been dug years ago by the City-Parish. 

He was under the impression piping would be placed in the ditch and be buried underground. He's still waiting for that to happen. 

Jones says he inherited the drainage ditch about a year ago when he bought the lot. He's building a new house right next to the drainage ditch. He's concerned a solution to fix the issue might cost him a lot of money. 

"I have to pay for it," said Jones. "I would have to pay for the pipes." 

Jones says he was told the City-Parish would install the pipes but he'd have to put up the money. A few thousand dollars Jones doesn't have right now. 

He doesn't think that's right. The drainage is collecting debris, empty bottles, and trash. Even worse, the land is eroding, which could affect the foundation for the new house he's building. 

"It floods, water comes from all different ways in here," he said. 

Now Jones is wondering if the City-Parish was ever going to finish the job it started years ago. He's having a difficult time finding an answer. Bottom line, he says he can't afford the pipe and the hole in his front yard is only getting bigger. 

The City-Parish responded to a request from 2 On Your Side Friday. It says upgrades to California Street and drainage improvements date back to more than 10 years ago. It has no way of verifying if someone previously told the former homeowner about installing pipes, but that is not the plan moving forward. 

The City-Parish drainage department says there is no drainage servitude running along the side, rear, or adjacent properties. It's all natural drainage. The two storm drains in front of Jones' property are at the lowest point in the street and all of the streets slope in the direction towards the storm drains. The storm drains collect the water from the street and the water drains out of a 24” to 30” reinforced concrete pipe located on the backside of the drains. The water flows into the natural drainage ditch and flows from the storm drains on California Street to a catch basin located on Arizona Street. 

Regarding the eroding hole catching water, the City-Parish says a crew will visit the site next week and address both the hole and the barricades.


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