Neighbors say nearby cemetery adds to flooding: 'something needs to be done'

Neighbors of Elmwood Cemetery in Mason City say the cemetery's overflow is causing more damage to their homes.

Posted: Jun. 12, 2018 10:00 AM
Updated: Jun. 12, 2018 10:11 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - South Washington Avenue and its connecting streets perhaps got some of the worst flooding over the weekend. 

Residents living in the neighborhood said most of it is because of a pond at Elmwood Cemetery, which sits uphill from the area. 

"For us the pond is a very big problem. As pretty as it is, it causes damage and hurts the people down here. So for me the pond isn't worth it," Jennifer Hansen, who lives in the neighborhood, said. 

Other residents in the area said the cemetery's pond has grates which are often covered with debri. They said this causes water to overflow, run down the cemetery's road, right into their neighborhood. 

"You can even see this morning there's flowers still from the graves down over here, so you know it's all coming from there," she said.

Neighbors have even taken matters into their own hands by removing debri off the grate so more water can flow. 

But Randy Opheim, the manager at Elmwood Cemetery, said the pond isn't the one to blame. He said the retention pond has had debri blocking the grate in the past, but that wasn't the cause of the extreme flooding the neighborhood saw. He told KIMT there simply was such a high volume of water, nothing could've stopped the overflow. 

No matter the cause, one neighbor said 'something needs to be done.' Hansen agrees. 

"A lot of frustration and when it happens we get a little hot headed, you know, about the cemetery or whatever, thinking they can do something to help," she said. 

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