When you experience repetitive flooding to your property, it can have a profound effect on your behavior. Imagine going for a walk with the dog. You notice it’s overcast, but it doesn’t seem like it will rain soon. It’s been cloudy all day. So you and the dog begin your patrol around the neighborhood, enjoying chatting with neighbors along the way. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a downpour begins. You start to hurry home. What’s the first thing you think of? “Oh, no, the basement!.”
That might not seem like a common occurrence for you, but for the residents of Lincoln Park it’s all too common, as well as debilitating and expensive. Lincoln Park is a city in southeast Michigan, Wayne County, in an area of cities and communities known as Downriver. It lies adjacent to the waterway connecting Lake Eerie and Lake Huron. When it rains, that can be an unfortunate place to be.
Lincoln Park residents have had their basements flooded out for years, sometimes multiple times a year. And it isn’t just water they have to contend with. In August of 2020, Jennifer Trippe was on one of those dog walks, and returned to six-to-eight inches of water in her basement. In an interview, she let the reporter know something else; “It’s not coming out of my foundation,” Trippe said. “It’s directly coming out of the sewer and it happens around here all the time.”
The residents of Lincoln Park have come together and the name of the organization says it all: Lincoln Park Residents Tired of Basement Flooding & how to maneuver DPS. Lita Toney leads the organization and is frequently on Facebook updating her neighbors on the latest news and the actions they can take to get help. The about section on that page states their case: “Are you tired of salvaging your personal property, living with contaminated sewage up your floor drains? Residents are responsible for repairs on their property but why is the city not taking care and forcing anyone to fix the on-going problems of its sanitary systems?”
These beleaguered residents have found the only way to get any help is to constantly contact city services and report each and every flooding. So their work is around empowering their community to do the same, actively encouraging flooded residents to contact city leaders, and carefully document each incident and the damage that occurred. Together they work to hold the city accountable for ancient water and sewerage systems that desperately need repair.
Written by Michele Gielis
LINCOLN PARK: Angry residents speak out at council meeting while city passes out reimbursement checks for basement flooding, The News Herald, November 2, 2016
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