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Flooding fix leaves property a mess

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 17:57:43-04

EATON RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Work to prevent flooding at an Eaton County intersection is causing problems for property owners in the area.

Crews dug trenches along the drain near Canal Road and Columbia Highway as early as October 2019.

“It’s been incredibly frustrating,” Timothy Cronkright said.

Cronkright’s family has owned the land at the intersection for three generations. The drain that clears water from the road goes right through his woods.

“There’s been a lot of little things done over the time,” Cronkright said. “A little maintenance here and there. Now this.”

Flooding at the intersection has been a problem for a while now. It was closed for several months last winter when water and ice covered the intersection. A petition was filed to fix the drain in April.

That would allow the Eaton County Drain Commissioner Richard Wagner to spend more than $5,000 to install a larger drain.

Cronkright said he’s only seen them dig this large pit since then.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “We live out in the country because we want to enjoy the land. We want to enjoy the forest. We want to be able to come out here with our kids.”

Cronkright now has several open trenches, deep holes, broken drain tiles and debris on his property, and it’s been there for months.

“That stuff needs to be cleaned up,” he said. “The land needs to be made whole as a result of what they are doing.”

Cronkright said he’s not asking for much.

“We want the land put back together, we want the pipe replaced,” said Cronkright.

It’s still unclear how much it’s going to cost to replace the 140-year-old drain. Wagner previously said the county has spent $23,000 to pump water off the road.

That comes out of a $30,000 drain budget.

FOX 47 made several attempts to contact the drain commissioner, but interview requests weren’t returned by deadline.

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