WILLIAMSON – During public comment at Thursday’s regular meeting of the Williamson City Council, Williamson resident Steven Hager, expressed concern regarding a sink hole that appeared in a Vinson Street resident’s yard nearly a year ago as a result of ongoing drainage issues.
Hager approached the council stating, “I was just wondering are we ever going to do anything about the holes up Vinson Street? I had to go out there yesterday and keep two kids from going in it. We were told a year ago that this would be fixed in a couple of weeks… If those kids climb down in there and get hurt, is the city liable? The city is who put the drains in. It has been over a year since this happened.”
Council woman Sherri Hairston- Brown requested that Jason Allen, Project Manager for Veolia Water, answer the question. Allen stated, “The last I was told was that the W.Va. State Highway Department was looking into somethings. At this point in the time, that is all the information I have on it.”
Hager responded stating, “I think it is a shame. I guarantee that if it was in any of your all’s yards, this would have been taken care of. Those kids could have very easily gotten hurt if I had not been home to keep them out of it.”
Hairston-Brown responded stating, “I have done everything possible. I have gone through the state. I have begged. I have done everything I could do. You know what? I am up against a wall… I went to Delegate Justin Marcum; I went through everyone that I could go through to try to get that fixed. I don’t know who else I could go to!”
The discussion continued between Hager and council. Councilman York Smith asked if a fence had been installed to keep children away from the hole. Hager stated that the only thing around the hole was an orange plastic barrier.
Mayor Robert Carlton stated, “There are clearly two options. One option is if we had the money, we could try to fix it. The other is to try to secure it. We would think about putting a 48 inch fence around it to keep the kids out of it. There is going to be some expense involved in that though.”
Councilwoman Judy Hamrick suggesting reexamining the proposal provided to council several months ago for a cost estimate of repairing the drainage issues in the Vinson Street area. “I am just going to give you my opinion because I gave it before. We had a proposal to fix it. The cost has probably increased since then. I think we ought to look that seriously and see if we can come up with money somewhere to do that. I don’t think the state is ever going to come down here. Everybody I talked to said that they can’t do it for all of these reasons. Somebody is going to have to do it,” Hamrick stated.
The discussions continued with Hager suggesting that the city take out the drains and restore the area to the way it was before the city installed the drains.
Following discussion, Hamrick requested that Allen bring the previous proposal outlining the street repair to the next council meeting including any revisions needed. Throughout the year, dirt and debris has collected in the open area of the drain. “Let’s see if we can find money to complete it as quickly as possible,” Hamrick said.
Carlton suggested that Allen also provide an estimate for the cost of the fence. “One of the estimates I want you to do is for simply putting chain length around the area to keep the kids out of it until something can be done,” Carlton said.
The next Williamson City Council meeting will be held on Thursday, August 25 at 6 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall.
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)