Residents call on city to end erosion

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 16, 2001

Tommie Rawlings points to where the curve ends about 30 feet from his home at 414 Zollingers Hill. Rawlings said when it rains the mud added behind the curve drains into his driveway. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[08/16/01] After city crews finished installing a concrete curb in front of one house on Zollingers Hill, neighbors thought workers would be back to do the rest of the street.

But two months have passed and residents say the work already done is resulting in inconvenience and damage for them.

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Zollingers, one of the city’s steepest streets, extends from Martin Luther King Boulevard about half a mile down to Sky Farm Avenue.

Tommie Rawlings, who has lived at 414 Zollingers for three years, said that since curbing was placed at a residence uphill from his house, additional water and lots of mud have been diverted into his yard.

“We can’t get out of the car and get into the house when it rains,” Rawlings said. And, “It’s just getting worse every time it rains.”

Up the hill, Charles W. Tucker, 430 Zollingers, said the water is beginning to eat away at his driveway and under the street. Tucker has placed timbers and bricks to try to divert the flow, but nothing has slowed the erosion.

“It just looks a mess out in front of my house,” Tucker said. “The city needs to go on and fix it, but they haven’t come back to do it.”

What Rawlings and Tucker said they cannot understand the most is why curbing was installed along the road in front of the home of Curlie Whiten Jr., at 426 Zollingers, but at none of the other six houses along the hillside.

“How can one man get (curbing) and another taxpayer can’t?” Rawlings said. “They neglect us over here.”

North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young said that the reason work was done at 426 Zollingers Hill first was because it was asked for first.

“We weren’t aware of any other problems,” Young said.

Whiten had called city officials in March and asked that the city look into erosion problems in front of his home, Young said. The curb in front of Whiten’s house was completed July 17 and Tucker called July 18 to see about getting the same for his house.

Tommy Day, city street superintendent, said crews will probably be at Tucker’s house in the next two weeks.

“We’re going to take care of it,” Day said. “We’re not going to leave it the way it is.”

Rawlings said city crews should have at least done the work at Tucker’s home when they were in the neighborhood doing curbs.

“You can clearly see where the other problem is,” Rawlings said, pointing to a spot in front of the Tuckers’ home where water, jetting down from the curbed lot, is eating soil from under the asphalt.

While Tucker is to get help, city sources said no work is planned for the street in front of the Rawlings home.

James “Bubba” Rainer, head of the city’s public works division, which oversees the street department, said projects are ranked in order of need. He said that the three-man crew that installs curbs is working on a project on Bellaire Drive that has been planned for two years.

“With the limited resources that we have there’s only so much we can do,” Rainer said.

He said the city board would need to budget the work and advertise for a contractor to do the project if the entire street is to be curbed.

Young said that although work is sometimes slow, the city has responded to Zollingers Hill residents. She said that every call has been returned and followed-up on.

“I can’t know everything about every house in my district,” Young said. “If they don’t call me I can’t know.”