Town looks to improve water flow issues

Drainage is an issue in Crothersville.

During large rain events, water gets backed up in Hominy Ditch and floods people’s yards because the drainage pipes are too small and get plugged up.

To help alleviate those problems, the town’s grant writer and consultant received approval to apply for a stormwater improvement grant to be able to replace three culverts and clear debris from the ditch, which carries 80 percent of the water through town.

The next step would be to establish a stormwater utility fund, which would consist of a monthly fee for residents and businesses that would be used to help the town fund storm drainage infrastructure and future storm drainage improvements.

The town has never had a stormwater utility fund, town council president Lenvel “Butch” Robinson.

“We’re really not wanting to charge our people anything, but if we don’t do something, we’re not going to get any money,” Robinson said after a recent council meeting.

Trena Carter with Administrative Resources association in Columbus conducted the first of two public hearings at the start of that meeting, giving residents a chance to learn about the grant, share information about how stormwater improvements could help them and ask questions.

The letter of intent for the Community Development Block Grant Program’s Stormwater Improvements Program has to be submitted to the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs by Friday. The full application is due Oct. 14. A site visit with state officials would be conducted in between those dates.

To go with the application, Carter is asking residents to share how the drainage issues have impacted them during the past five years. Letters and photos from residents may be dropped off at Crothersville Town Hall no later than Oct. 4.

The proposed project consists of the replacement of three culverts at Kovener Street, Bethany Road and Park Avenue at Hominy Ditch and removal of debris and ditch rehabilitation from Kovener Street to the sewer plant outfall, which is about 1,100 feet.

“Upsizing the culverts will eliminate choke points and allow stormwater flow to exit downstream, reducing the stress and potential flood threat to town residents,” Carter said.

The second public hearing about the grant has not been scheduled, but Carter said it has to be conducted before submission of the full application.

Awarding of grants is scheduled for Dec. 1. Carter said three to five grants could be awarded, depending on the amount requested and funds availability.

Crothersville is requesting $500,000 in grant funding and would have to provide $63,700 as a local match.

“The grant request and local match should cover the full costs of everything that will be done,” Carter said.

With the proposed stormwater utility fund, storm drainage improvements could include new culverts, stormwater piping and separation of wastewater and storm drainage conveyance piping in efforts to reduce standing water and flooding issues. The ongoing fund also would help make repairs at the sewer plant.

“The utility will provide a revenue stream to sustain current and proposed storm drainage infrastructure in addition to providing funds for future improvements,” Carter said.

The amount charged per household or business would depend on the amount of square footage of the area, Robinson said.

If the council approves establishing the stormwater utility fund, town attorney Jeff Lorenzo would draft it as an ordinance.

Robinson said the council will discuss the fund at the next meeting, set for 6 p.m. Sept. 6 at town hall.

At a glance

Crothersville is applying for a stormwater improvement grant.

As part of the application process, two highly important questions must be answered: “What is the impact to residents?” and “What residential issues are currently being experienced or have been experienced in the past three to five years?”

The best way to show the impact to residents regarding the impact and need for this project include letters and photos from the residents. The letters may be handwritten or typed and will be most helpful if each resident spells out the issues they have suffered through, including the expenses paid in the past three to five years to address those issues.

Anyone with questions may contact Trena Carter, the town’s grant writer and consultant, at 812-376-9949. Letters and photos may be dropped off at Crothersville Town Hall, 111 E. Howard St., no later than the Oct. 4 town council meeting.

Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at or 812-523-7080.