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DIGGING DEEPER: Frustrated neighbors claim deteriorating street is neglected

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — It’s a problem that neighbors who have been here for decades say is only getting worse. What started as a puddle now takes up half the street.

We found flooding and standing water not appearing to drain properly as our Digging Deeper team drove down Polk Street on a rainy day.

Teresa Winkle has lived on this street for almost 40 years. She says flooded sidewalks are something she’s dealt with since she moved in and says it doesn’t take much rain for flooding to begin. But it takes days for it to finally drain.

“I feel low. Like the city and Mayor Henry are not doing their jobs,” Winkle said.

On Polk Street between Franklin Avenue and Degroff Street, there is one drain on each side responsible for collecting rainwater. We sat down with the Public Works Director from the City of Fort Wayne to address the concerns.

“The storm inlets that are there are not in the lowest spots,” Shawn Gunawardena said.

He says in order for stormwater to drain correctly the drain has to be on the lowest spot on the street. Right now it is not.

“We would like the neighbors to realize that some of the issues with standing water,” Gunawardena said. “Well, people do things without recognizing the impacts of them.”

Gunawardena says that neighbors aren’t parking where they should, which is causing the road to cave in some spots. This means the storm drainage is going in those places instead of straight down the drain.

A spokesperson for the city says they were planning to do work on Polk Street next year, but are looking to move up the work to this year. Some neighbors say that’s not enough.

Kayla Stewart

Kayla Stewart anchors ABC21 Morning News.

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