Homeowners want solution to flooding in Oakland subdivision

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OAKLAND, Tenn. -- Heavy rain leaves behind flood damage in Fayette County.

Several homes are left with a lot to clean up after last nights storm in Oakland, Tenn.

People living in Northwood Estates said it isn't the first time, and they believe they know what's causing the water to rise.

"We do tend to get a little nervous when a heavy rain comes along," said John Bigham.

Bigham and his neighbors have good reason for the jitters. Seems whenever there's a major downpour in Oakland, some of the homes in Northwood Estates subdivision flood.

"This is the fourth flood for us. The first flood, in 2009, affected seven houses," said Bigham.

Bigham said the scenic lake behind his home, which makes the community so attractive, overflows during a heavy storm like the one that hit overnight Tuesday.

Another reason water backs up onto yards and streets is Black Ankle Creek, which feeds into the lake.

The creek can't handle a torrential rainfall and the overflow often leaves debris attached to the lake's footbridge.

Bigham uses the footbridge as a gauge to judge how dangerous the water level is getting.

"When water comes up to the walkway, that's not real good. When it comes up to top of the handrail, it's already in the living room," said Bigham.

And that's what happened Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

There was enough water to flood the ground floor of Bigham's house, as well as a number of other homes.

Debie Jones, who lives a few doors away from Bigham, felt helpless as the water rose.

"The water was this high and it went all the way across my yard...all the way across," said Jones.

The state did replace a drainage culvert near the subdivision a few years ago, which helped ease the flooding  problem a little.

But Bigham said he's tired of moving furniture off the floor every time there's a storm, and he's not hesitant about where the blame should go.

"There was a mistake on the original flood study that the developer had. And so, certainly that doesn't make me very happy," said Bigham.

Oakland Mayor Chris Goodman said Wednesday the town acquired a $900,000 FEMA grant during the previous administration, to dredge and widen Black Ankle Creek.

The mayor said the project has stalled while Oakland obtains the easement rights to some of the property along the creek.

Mayor Goodman hopes to begin the drainage improvement project in four to six weeks.