ACCOMACK: County will form group to address drainage, litter woes

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BY TED SHOCKLEY, Eastern Shore Post —

Accomack County will form a group — possibly with the Virginia Department of Transportation — to address its stopped-up ditches and drainage woes.

Members of the Accomack Board of Supervisors during a meeting Wednesday, March 20, said constituents have expressed concern with flooding in the wake of recent heavy rainfall.

Supervisor Jeffrey A. Parks Sr. asked that a study be completed of the county’s ditch-digging efforts, including funding and staffing.

Parks said he has talked to state transportation department officials and they are willing to be part of a task force to address the issue.

“I spent the last two weekends digging ditches out in front of my house,” said Parks.

During a public comment session Onancock resident Glenn Smith shared in graphic detail the issues with flooded ditches that contained “rotting dead animals.” He also alleged people were pumping out their septic systems into ditches.

He called the lack of ditch maintenance “insulting, unsafe, and unhealthy,” and lamented that everyone from first responders and county employees to students getting off the school bus have to wade through the standing water.

Of the issues, Smith asked, “Why aren’t you addressing them? What are we waiting for?”

Board Chairman Robert Crockett said there were four full-time positions, with benefits, in the current year’s budget to work on ditch maintenance, but nobody will take the jobs.

“We can’t find people to fill these positions,” Crockett said, adding that other county departments also are short on staffing.

Supervisors Calvin L. Washington Sr. and Reneta Major each expressed concern about the ditch conditions and roadside litter.

“It’s a problem — we’re all hearing about it,” said Washington.

Said Major, “Drainage is a problem here. I know we have had some unusual rains.”

She added about the litter, “I don’t know where it needs to start, but we need to start having some pride.”

In other news,

— Supervisors approved another extension for the opening of a new childcare center at Shiloh Baptist Church near Painter.

County Administrator Mike Mason said the building is complete and organizers are awaiting state approval.

“The community is excited,” said Major, who attends the church. “Our church is excited.”

—- Supervisors approved a letter of support to the Virginia Department of Transportation for the widening of Chincoteague Road between T’s Corner and Wattsville.

The proposed widening would make the 22-foot-wide, two-lane road into a 52-foot-wide, three lane road that includes a center turn lane.

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The project would include “much-needed shoulder improvements to the current roadway configuration,” according to the letter to VDOT.

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