• 52°

By Mark Wineka
Salisbury Post
Brenda Shaver watched Tuesday afternoon’s downpour with apprehension.
She knew what a heavy rain would do on the vacant lot behind her North Jackson Street home.
“It’s going to be rushing like a river here in 5 minutes,” she said, looking out her back door.
She was right. Thanks to a drainage problem, probably caused by a collapsed culvert, water builds up quickly in the Soldiers Memorial AME Zion Church’s lot, which is between the back of the church and the rear of homes facing North Jackson Street.
Rains usually lead to the formation of a lake and two waterfalls, Shaver says, and the water often rushes down and under her house.
“I’ll have water under my house this time,” she predicted Tuesday afternoon, and she soon reported that there was “a river 4 feet wide” behind her house, and the driveway was flooded.
The drainage problem has led to significant erosion and “sinkholes” on the lot, making things worse, Shaver said.
The resulting rain-filled lake often reflects the buildings around it and is visible from West Liberty Street.
Shaver has spent money to have a drain installed in the back of her driveway to handle some of the water, and she claims the runoff has damaged her garage’s foundation. Neither the church nor the city has taken responsibility for the problem for several years, Shaver complained.
Help may be on the way soon, according to Salisbury City Manager David Treme.
This particular parcel will become a parking lot to help serve the Rowan County Justice Center during weekdays and the church on nights and weekends.
A church-county-city partnership is combining on the project, which Treme said is expected to go out for bids later this month. Construction could start this spring, and drainage improvements connected with the project should be able to carry water away and resolve the problem, Treme said.
The city and county each have allocated $50,000 toward building the parking lot. The property itself will remain in the ownership of the church.
Admitting skepticism, Shaver said a solution can’t come soon enough for her.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or mwineka@salisburypost.com.

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