Book and Wenley Street Residents Address Council

By Seth Kinker,

On July 30 Diana Ramsay of Chelsea issued a formal complaint to the City of Chelsea focusing on the deterioration of Book and Wenley streets. The complaint cited reasons for the deterioration, mainly heavy traffic and lack of proper stormwater run-off. The complaint was signed by 12 nearby neighbors.

The complaint cited city neglect for the condition of the streets, failing to maintain curb drains and storm sewer systems for the streets.

On Monday, August 20 Langdon Ramsey, a resident of Book street, addressed council again about the issue. At the beginning of the month, public works officials had marked Book street for repair, areas from the cement curbs six feet into the street.

These marks were part of scheduled maintenance on areas around the city that require attention, the city phases the different projects, tackling issues one at a time, depending on need, funding, and feasibility.

In addition to Book and Wenley street, Langdon’s statement to city council also addressed Flanders and Wood street. These streets make up the Grantwood Addition Subdivision that had been built in the 1950s.

Earlier in the summer Flanders street resident Erin Lightfoot brought concerns to city council regarding standing water near her residence. Langdon’s statement on Monday echoed and expanded on some of those claims.

From Langdon’s statement to City Council: “Storm sewer drains were constructed, but no outlet was provided. The runoff water for these streets, flows through three “down” basins, forcing the water out of an “up” basin on the southeast corner of Wood and Flanders. From this point, the water travels down a sloped area into the nearby swamp at the dead end of Flanders Street. This system has become seriously ineffective over the past 40 years. The city has been aware of the construction allowed in the swamp area since the early 1970s yet has failed in its responsibilities to maintain adequate alternatives to the amount of permeable ground that has been decreased, leaving this subdivision to become saturated. Correcting a curb problem; reopening the drain system at the end of Flanders Street and repaving Wenley and Book Street will not relieve the water issue developing under the homes inside this block.”

Langdon went on to say that 12 of 15 homes within the block have sump pumps to keep water seepage out of basement walls and floors. Water is recycled daily from his home and he said residents are unable to mow their lawns until late June or early July as a result of standing water.

“Our downspouts cannot be moved further away from our foundations,” said Langdon in his statement. “Our downspouts and sump pump pipes extend 12-20 feet away from our foundations now. The law prohibiting the release of water from sump pumps into the city streets has increased the water saturation around our foundations. Without an efficient drainage system to eliminate the groundwater, our sump pumps are discharging continuously.”

“I will use my home as an example,” continued Langdon. “754 Book Street Since 1994, my wife, Diana, and I have periodically contracted professionals at a cost of well over $26,000, to rid our property and home of groundwater. We are now using a commercial-size dehumidifier in our basement that yields 3-4 gallons of water daily. We have two sump pumps. The second sump pump was installed three years ago to remove water from our front basement wall and foundation due to inefficient storm sewer drainage on Book Street. The residents ask the city to provide a more efficient way to remove the discharged water and the run-off water from our individual properties, and to construct a retention pond to help the entire neighborhood.”


Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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