Dearborn citizens dig in over ditch concerns

DEARBORN, Mo. — Citizens showed up to the Dearborn Board of Aldermen meeting Monday, June 12 to express concerns over the city’s recent digging.

Last week, Dearborn public works employees performed ditch maintenance along city streets, but some property owners were worried about the depth and future upkeep of the affected areas. The city, which has right of way on the ditch areas, wanted to address drainage issues, but some citizens felt the job was left incomplete. City of Dearborn residents recently expressed concerns over ditches, like the one seen in this picture, dug out in an effort to improve water flow.
City of Dearborn residents recently expressed concerns over ditches, like the one seen in this picture, dug out in an effort to improve water flow.

The city performed the work without notifying citizens.

“I’d like to see if there’s something that can be done about the ditching that’s going on; they’re making the banks too step to where you can’t mow,” Steven Davenport said. “I understand they’ve got to clean ditches out. I’ve never had any water issues.

“I had a ditch before. I didn’t have a trench like I do now.”

Davenport spoke of the depth of the digs and the steep drop off of what he called trenches. Citizens worry about mowing the areas, fearing they may need to start trimming weeds instead. Other concerns included the possibility of vehicles becoming stuck in the areas due to a lack of relief.

According to his statements, Davenport wanted to know if the city could come back and smooth out the areas to make them more accessible.

The ditches were dug down to the level of existing drainage pipes, but in some cases, the digging went below the bottom edge. Ashley Sharp, another resident, said that areas of the pipe were plugged up anyway, limiting the effectiveness of the newly dug ditches.

City officials were asked about maintenancing the areas to ensure proper water flow as a result of the work.

“I just want to know what the plan is for the ditches going forward,” Sharp said. “It’s ugly. I can’t mow it. I assumed you guys were going to come back and fix it, but I wanted to check up on that and see if that was still the plan.”

Work started on a Wednesday, and by the weekend, citizens had started discussing the issues and lack of notification from the city. Dearborn mayor Jamie Morey planned to have public works return to the affected sites to try and address the issues.

Sharp brought a binder of photos of her yard, but city officials didn’t need to see the evidence.
“Nah. It’s all over social media,” Morey joked. “These ditches, I know they may look like they’re 50 foot deep and you may measure ’em to be that deep, but that’s the way they were originally. But they got filled in due to lack of maintenance over so many years. When a tube is in a certain spot and it gets backed up with dirt, you’ve got to get back down to the bottom of that tube or water’s not going to flow.”

Morey agreed that the areas need to be maintainable and hopes sending the crew back out will alleviate the issues. The area has also seen dry conditions that haven’t allowed natural factors to help smooth out the areas, although some worried about erosion contributing to filling the tubes back up without continued oversight from the city.