Cleveland City Council Taking Action On Bowman Avenue Water Problems; Business Owners Ask That New Life Community Kitchen Be Moved Out Of Downtown

Monday, October 28, 2013 - by Hollie Webb

Several Cleveland residents from the Bowman Avenue area on Monday petitioned the City Council for help with the dangerous flooding problem on their property, stemming from the city drainage system. The problem was discussed in detail at the 1 p.m. agenda meeting, and a motion to add extra drain pipes to the area was passed unanimously during the 3 p.m. session.

One woman said that every time it rains, the water in her backyard becomes knee-deep. In her front yard, she said that the water rushes from the drain pipe in such a strong current that a pet or small child could easily be pulled under. Another woman said that the surge of water had even caused sinkholes in her yard.

Another property owner in the area, Scott Kanavos, said that not only was the water dangerous because of the fast currents, but also because of the debris and trash it brings. He said that items like saws and hypodermic needles had come in with the stormwater. He said, “We need the city to step in.” Mr. Kanavos speculated that part of the problem was the age of the infrastructure, saying many of the tiles were constructed in the 1930s and 1940s.

Tennessee water law uses the Natural Flow Rule, meaning that the natural flow of the water is not to be changed, it was stated. When discussing putting in new pipes, Councilman Richard Banks said “We aren't changing the natural flow of the water. The city in the past did change the natural flow, and it caused the Bowman people problems.”

The City Council decided to send out letters to all residents in the area who will be affected by the repairs. 

Also, Mr. Kanavos, who is a Cleveland defense attorney, suggested to the council that the New Life Community Kitchen, currently located on South Ocoee Street, be moved away from the downtown area, as a way of preventing crime. 

Mr. Kanavos and several other business owners in the area said they have noticed many of the homeless starting to congregate around the soup kitchen at all hours of the day and night. He said that the area has become more littered, including two buildings that he owns. He told of one particular homeless man who had been living out of a vehicle and had been spotted multiple times dumping trash and human waste onto the street and sidewalk.

Mr. Kanavos also said that what he had started witnessing from his downtown office window was "beyond shocking." He said he had seen “altercations, fornication, and sexual acts,” between the homeless all during the work day.

He said that his biggest fear was that one of the altercations would escalate to a homicide, describing the situation as “a perfect storm for trouble.” He pointed out how hard the city government and police force had worked to keep the downtown area safe and clean, calling the area the “jewel of the city.” He explained that he did not want this to become more of a public safety issue where people would be afraid to walk downtown.

Measures such as parking limits have already been passed to dissuade anyone from residing in their vehicle in city parking spaces, but this has also affected business owners and their clients, it was stated. Downtown business owner Doug Caywood said that the nearest place he could now tell his clients to park was approximately four blocks away.

Other ideas discussed were parking permits for business owners and creating an ordinance requiring cars parked longer than 24 hours be towed. Nothing was decided, but the discussion will continue in the next Cleveland City Council meeting. 



Rhonda Thurman: Speaking The Truth About CSLA - And Response

One parent called me a “Liar” during Thursday’s Facilities meeting. Others from CSLA have been a bit more creative saying that I spread “misinformation”, “falsehoods” and “spread inaccurate statements”. Then there were more descriptive terms- “arrogant”, “uninformed”, “unprofessional”- if these CSLA parents don’t stop, they are going to hurt my feelings. In this letter, I will attempt ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Illegals Cost Us Billions

We learned over the weekend that John Kelly, our new Secretary of Homeland Security, has just prepared two strongly-worded memos that could greatly enhance federal authorities to detain and/or deport illegal immigrants both inside the United States and those caught at our borders. All rational United States citizens know we have a horrible problem with illegals – in 2010 the annual ... (click for more)

Bradley Runs Away With Another AAA State Crown

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Bradley’s Ben Smith may be one of the most excitable wrestling coaches on earth, especially when his Bears are in the middle of a tough tournament. Such was the case here at the Williamson County Agricultural Exposition Center this weekend as the Bears successfully defending their traditional title at the TSSAA State Meet as they finished the three-day event ... (click for more)

Father Ryan Wins Fourth Straight D-II Mat Title

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Father Ryan wrestling team can now honestly boast “four-peat” when anyone asked about the most recent Division II state wrestling tournament. The Purple Irish won the state duals two weeks ago and they added another traditional title here at the Williamson County Agricultural Exposition Center Saturday night. Saturday’s victory is the 21 st overall for ... (click for more)