This is one of the photos submitted to council to demonstrate the size of the mosquitoes at 'the lake'.
This is one of the photos submitted to council to demonstrate the size of the mosquitoes at 'the lake'.

ADA — While the temperature was getting decidedly colder outside Tuesday night, things were just as decidedly heating up inside Ada Village Council Chambers as three villagers aired their frustrations about something that, actually, wasn’t being ‘aerated,’ or drained for that matter.

Their backyards.

At the center of the controversy, or the topographical low-point in the neighborhood to be more specific, is Jean Stavenger, whose backyard property on South Main St. (right across from the Community Market) has turned, virtually, into a full-time “lake,” she said.

While the property used to drain after a hard rain in three, sometimes four, days. No more. And not only is the water continually standing now — in the configuration of a round lake — but it is complete with ducks, tadpoles, mosquitoes, “…and I think we even saw a fish,” Ms. Stavenger said.

She presented Council with photos of all the ‘lake life,’ so to speak, and a detailed, typed history of the problems around the drainage dating back 20 years

That’s when the Stavenger’s bought the property.

Their daughter Julie, who also spoke at the meeting, said her father approached the village a number of times about getting help with the drainage, but she said there was no relief.

What’s more, she said, the drainage kept getting worse, and worse.

In recent years, Ms. Stavenger said she has, again, multiple times, contacted village representatives, but nothing still has been resolved. Councilmembers Bob Simmons and Terry Keiser visited the neighborhood to survey the properties earlier this month. Both Keiser and Simmons validated what the women were saying, and added that they’d observed muddy water in one home’s crawl spaces and garage as well. After seeing all this, they suggested the residents bring the issue up at Council.

Another village protestor this night was Linda Staley, whose mother, Bonnie Counts, lives next door to Jean Stavenger. The mother is also experiencing drainage problems.

Ms. Staley, in a quite assertive and animated fashion, said she was exasperated that this issue had gone on for “20 years now” without any type of tangible response to it by the village.

She said, among other things, that the presence of all the mosquitoes at this backyard ‘lake’ each summer now was getting to be a “health hazard.” And she said that she’d advised the other two women there to “get a lawyer and sue,” if nothing continues to be done.

Their “assumption,” said Julie Staley, is that with the new construction on nearby streets in recent years, some existing pipe that was offering some drainage for these properties, had been inadvertently “cut.”

Village Administrator Jamie Hall offered that tree roots, or some other obstruction, might be blocking the old existing drainage tile that had before, at least offered some relief.

He also said that once the “Willeke Avenue Reconstruction Phase 2 Project” is complete next fall, the residents could tie into that new storm drainage system.

However, Ms. Staley was adamant about that not helping in the short term. And she insisted the village do something in the immediate to drain the backyard(s).

There was general verbal consensus among council that something should, indeed, be done.

A couple ideas that were ‘floated’ included the village using their sewer hydro jet for draining the water periodically. Another idea was to get Bluffton Aeration Inc. to come in and drain it.

That is, when it can be drained. Right now, ‘the lake’ is frozen over.