BY GENA HUFF, Editor
Members of the Reform City Council began improvements to an ongoing infrastructure problem in the city. For several months, drainage in the city has been an issue brought up at meetings over and again, without much getting resolved. At the Aug. 21 meeting, progress began as the council voted to pay out $4250 to Bowles LLC for cleaning and hauling away debris and foliage from a drainage ditch behind the Pickens County High School (PCHS) stadium. The ditch has posed several problems over time, especially when heavy rains hit, creating flooding and overflow on the field and water backup on nearby streets.
“It would be a good idea to clean all the way behind the stadium if the ditch drains towards it,” said Councilman Charlie Hagan. “it is so flat back there, it didn’t have any topography on the maps to show any drainage. It would have to be manmade drainage.”
“At one point, the ditch is almost full of dirt right there, which is why it floods out,” said Reform Mayor, Bennie Harton.
“When we get so much rain,” added Reform Police Chief Richard Black, “you get water across that street in front of the football field. You have the main drainage ditch for the whole southside of town coming through there between the Senior Center and the power company. … It’s major, and that’s when you get too much, that’s when the Senior Center floods.”
“That’s when it really floods, is when it’s stopped up,” said Harton. “Beavers used to be a big problem, cutting trees and blocking the flow.”
Hagan commented the biggest issue was if the city had enough funds to pay for the clearing of the ditch. “I don’t know if there’s really any other options we have,” said the mayor.
“There’s really not,” Hagan agreed.
“If it is okay to pay it from the sales tax account, we have … reserves,” said City Clerk Annette Maughn.
“We have got to get it cleaned out,” said Hagan. “We are going to have a big problem in the future with ditches. If we don’t address them, I’m afraid the cost to address them because our drainage is really poor.”
“Without some type of grant, it is going to be,” said Harton.
There was some discussion of the urgency of clearing the one specific ditch behind the field. With football season, although starting late for PCHS but still rapidly approaching, two councilmembers, Ricky Richardson and Malcom Giles, thought to postpone the clearing and tabling the issue again.
“If we keep waiting, we are finally going to get some rain and then it’s going to be too wet,” said Councilwoman Pat Wheat.
See complete story in the Pickens County Herald.