Today’s news:

Flood of complaints on Ralph - Residents say commercial building source of the problem

Residents on East 59th Street are getting a real soaking, and they think the owners of the commercial buildings on Ralph Avenue right behind them are – to put it frankly – all wet.

The problem, said Roy McKenzie, the president of the East 59th Street Block Association, began when Ralph Avenue LLC, the owners of the building at 1610-1620 Ralph Avenue, between Foster Avenue and Farragut Road, repaved the backyard behind the laundromat, but didn’t include drainage.

“When it rains very heavily, the water has nowhere to go so it comes down into our backyards like a waterfall,” McKenzie told this paper. “It floods the community drive and the water tends to come into our basements. About 12 houses are affected. We wrote letters to the owners, but to no avail.”

Cheryl Bedeau, who lives down the block from McKenzie, concurred.

“Where I live, when it rains, water comes into the backyard from the back of the laundromat,” she explained. “There’s not a drain, so we have to wait till it dries out. It’s a whole big puddle. You have to pass that way to go up the hill, so it’s a problem.”

The flooding has only occurred in the past couple of years, Bedeau said. “We never had that before,” she stressed. “One day, it could come into the house. I’d like to solve the problem before it gets to that extent.”

The problem with the flooding is one reason why the block association was formed in the first place, McKenzie said. McKenzie said the homeowners had tried contacting the property owners, but had not heard back from them.

The property was purchased by Ralph Avenue LLC from 1620 Ralph Avenue Corporation in 2005. Efforts to reach Ralph Avenue LLC were unsuccessful.

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