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Property damage prompts call for storm drain plan

The water runoff from Kinne and Grove streets in Ellsworth from heavy rains has adversely affected rental property owned by Donna Huppert at 170 N. Grant St., including sinkholes and damage to underground drainage pipes which had to be torn out and replaced with a new culvert to deal with the problem. -- Photo submitted

Without storm drains on Grove and Kinne streets, which slope downward from the hill Ellsworth was built on, the water from heavy rainfall has but one place to go.

Much of that water came down the hill across Grant Street and collected on rental property village resident Donna Huppert owns at 170 N. Grant St. and her neighbors. The water runoff caused sinkholes, and the tearing out and replacement of badly damaged storm sewer pipes with a new culvert by the village.

Huppert wants to prevent further damage, not just to her property but anywhere in the village sloping down from the hill, by calling for the village to have a plan for installing storm drains on older streets like Grove and Kinne.

"Right now, there's nothing on Kinne from Maple to Grant streets," Huppert said. "There's nothing stopping that water from rushing down the hill off Kinne and Grove streets, and damaging the properties of the people who own them on Grant Street. Too much water is going into too little of an area and that's when you get damage from runoff."

Huppert has taken her concerns to the village board and requested they look into putting curb and gutter at least at the west end of Grove Street. Village Public Works Director Greg Engeset has looked into getting financial assistance for such work, but says any decision by the village to put curb and gutter and drains or anyplace else has to come up when the annual budget is put together in the fall.

"Major street work projects like curb and gutter are done within a 5-6 year time frame and it will be a major project for those streets in particular because you have to change the grade of the streets," Engeset said. "Most of the time when it rains, the water isn't a problem, except for really heavy rains and having that driveway opening there doesn't help matters."

For more please read the June 16 print version of the Herald.