GREENVILLE — Selectmen here concurred Wednesday that the start-up of the high school track project and the drainage problems on Oliver Road were too much of a coincidence.
While there is no conclusive evidence that the project caused the water problems on the road, selectmen voted unanimously to install drainage pipes and a catch basin in an effort to rectify the problem. They did agree that the funds should be taken from the school budget, specifically those earmarked for the track project.
Property owners abutting the track, including Mr. and Mrs. John Owens, have experienced water runoff since 1989 when the track project began. In 1991, Owens said he had water in his cellar for the first time since he has lived on Oliver Road. Since then, he has pumped water from his cellar from seven days in one year to 26 days last spring. He and other property owners believe the surface water flow on school property was altered by the project.
Several attempts have been made by the landowners to have the situation corrected, but the burden of proof that the project caused the problem was left to the landowners, according to Owens. School officials did authorize the installation of a drain to help the situation, but the problem persisted.
An engineer hired by Owens, Stephen Cole of S.W. Cole Engineering Inc., wrote that the “coincidences relative to the construction dates and the incidence of water in the basement certainly provide strong inference that the field and track area has impacted Oliver Street residents.”
Town Manager David Cota said he was not opposed to the town doing the drainage work, but expressed his concern that it might not correct the situation.