Neighbors Want City Leaders To Take Action To Fix Ditch

Some Gulfport neighbors say they have a problem that's getting bigger and bigger. They say a ditch that runs along Sharp Boulevard is becoming a nightmare.  Now some people want more than the city is willing to do.

Dyrene Owens has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years. She says when she moved in the ditch was only about two feet wide, now it's much bigger making her yard unsafe for her family.

"I have two special needs children and it concerns me that they could get out and come in the yard and come back here and fall in because neither one of them know how to swim. And they don't go in the backyard unless I go out there to check the ground to makes sure no snakes are back there," says Owens.

That's why Owens expressed her concerns to city leaders. But she didn't get the answer she was hoping for.

"If they could, put pipe and stop the eroding of the ditches so that we can continue with the amount of property that we have. But his option was that we can't do that. So I just told them to leave my property until we could come to an amicable decision," says Owens.

The problem is: Covered piping for the ditch would cost the city millions. A solution public works director Chris Riemann says isn't part of the plan.

Now that contractors have been forced off of the Owens' property, Riemann says the city will have to take legal action to prove the ditch is on city right of way in order to maintain it.

Riemann says the city will continue to maintain the ditch, which includes stabilizing the bank and if needed, workers will add concrete blocks. He says that homeowners do not have to worry about their homes falling into the ditch.