Call 4 Action: Homeowner fears widening drainage ditch can be hazardous

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HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) – Until about a year ago, Jim Tighe kept his front yard, in the Town of Hamburg, neat and well-groomed just like the other homeowners on his street. But now Jim has an ugly two-foot deep ditch, that is overgrown with weeds in his front yard, after a town highway crew dug the ditch in the public right-of-way along the street.

Tighe got so upset, he went to the Erie County Fair back on August 17, to vent his anger to Call 4 Action, “It is a hazard. For people walking their dogs, people pulling in to park,” he told a Call 4 Action troubleshooter, “somebody is going to get hurt.”

The elderly homeowner was even more incensed when he asked the highway crew to fill the ditch back in, but they told him only if he paid for a sewer pipe, which they would put in and cover it up with topsoil, at a cost of $500.

Hamburg’s Deputy Highway Superintendent Jason Collard met News 4 at Tighe’s house and pointed out, the ditch had been in Tighe’s front yard for years, “I think what happened here is it got filled in over the years, and they assumed there was no ditch there.”

Collard said the highway crew was just performing routine maintenance of the drainage ditch by skimming off some of the sediment that had built up, because lately, heavy rains have caused flooding, “and it wasn’t getting to our drains properly. So that is why we had to re-grade the ditch.”

So if Tighe agrees to pay for the drainage pipe installation, Collard said Tighe’s front yard would be much improved, “That includes ‘stoning’ it, and top soil and seed, and if we go through the driveway, that includes blacktopping the driveway and everything.”

Tighe is uncertain what he will do, but he is still frustrated that tall weeds are growing out of his ditch, and at his age, it is too hard to get down in there and cut them down.

“I’m 86, and I kept my property like–everybody keeps their property up. Now we got this? It ain’t right.”

Conclusion: If dredging the ditch has truly relieved the flooding, it is hard to argue with that, and town highway officials have offered to give Jim a “senior citizen discount” on the pipe, if he takes it.

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