Neighbors say town’s ball field project unorganized, causing flooding

LAPEL, Indiana -- Neighbors are upset about a project they say should be a nice, new place for kids in their town to play ball.

CBS4 Problem Solvers talked to multiple people who live on 5th Street in Lapel, who all said they're concerned about the project behind their homes.

The town of Lapel is building a park, with four diamonds for baseball and softball, thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Right now, that park is only partly built, and neighbors say in the spring, it caused their properties to flood.

"I knew that someday this was going to happen," homeowner Jay Deloughery said.

Deloughery and others say they believe the drainage was not engineered properly, and erosion has already become visible.

CBS4 Problem Solvers found it difficult to get information about the project. Multiple town officials said they were not worried about the drainage, and that the project manager would address it in the fall. Each also said they believed this spring's rainfall was unprecedented and flooding could not have been prevented.

Homeowner Keith Cox, though, said in his 25 years on the street, he has never seen this kind of flooding.

"It fills up the retention pond here, and then there's no where to go," Cox said.

Town council president Michael Cates sent CBS4 Problem Solvers a written statement:

"I'd like to start off by saying that I'm disappointed that no one attended a Town meeting or Park board meeting to express their concerns before reaching out to media. If they had attended a Town council meeting they would have known that we are monitoring the park for any flooding that may occur. The rain amounts we had the past few weeks were record breaking and I feel like as a hole [sic] the park drained very well. If there is an issue in the future the town will be sure to address it. I'm actually very excited for this park to be finished and watch the kids enjoy it! It is always my wish to make sure all residents in Lapel are happy, although sometimes that just isn't possible."

Deloughery and Cox said neighbors were never alerted to meetings about the project, and they showed up to later council meetings to express their concerns. They also said the park has been constructed slowly, and it has already taken almost two years to get to the current point, which is far from finished.

An Indiana DNR spokesperson told CBS4 Problem Solvers the department did review and approve plans for parking, a playground, the fields, and a concession stand/bathroom at the park. The Madison County drainage board signed off on the overall project and drainage.

The spokesperson said DNR had talked to neighbors about working with the project manager to find a solution to any flooding.

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