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Homeowner wants city to help clear overgrown ditch

Posted at 11:16 PM, Oct 18, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — The residents of Thrush Drive say a drainage ditch overflows when it rains and floods their backyards due to the large forest growing out of the ditch. Now they want the city to do something about it.

Phil Stark and his wife Joyce have lived in their west side home for nearly 30 years. Stark said that in that time, the ditch behind his house has probably been cleared by the city twice, but it was otherwise maintained by neighbors.

However, over time, fewer neighbors started putting in the work and now the once-clear drainage ditch has grown into a forest of shrubs and fallen trees.

"The problem is that there's been so much overgrowth that when it rains and people put stuff in the creek they're not supposed to with all of this overgrowth and trees growing from the easement all of this works like a dam and plugs everything up and causes the water to come way up," Stark said.

He said he's called the Mayor's Action Center a number of times, but his calls haven't led to any success.

"They transferred me to code violations, they put it through forestry, and they said to go back to the Mayor's Action Line, but that's going back and forth so I got tired of it so I called (RTV6)," Stark said.

RTV6 checked with the Mayor's Action Center and learned the homeowners are responsible for clearing the ditch as their property line ends at the center of the ditch.

A city spokesperson sent a letter residents were given last year reminding them that the overgrown forest is their responsibility. Stark said overgrown shrubs and trees have grown into a mess that residents can no longer handle on their own.

Stark hopes the city steps in with the proper equipment to clear a path before the water that should be in the ditch reaches his home.

"The people aren't going to go down there," Stark said. "I'm not going to go down there and clean, especially when it's wet. Now if it dries up, I don't even have anything Weed Eater to get in there and do that. I mean, they've had people volunteer to go along the river and pick up garbage from White River. Why can't they have a group of volunteers come out and clean this up?"