A clarification for a Sept. 20 article

In the aforementioned article it is written that I “explained that one of [my] neighbors damaged a drainage pipe while performing maintenance work in his yard, he did not ask permission from the city to make any changes to the pipe prior to the incident.  After that happened, [I] told city staff, that the City of Gallup had marked it for private maintenance and was refusing to maintain it.”

My response to this statement is that they are the words and explanation of Stan Henderson, City of Gallup employee and project director for this upcoming undertaking. The statement and explanation are not my words.

I was the sole residential/community member present at the public meeting along with Stan Henderson, DePauli Engineering Staff, City Councilor Yogash Kumar, Gallup Sun reporter, and Gallup Independent reporter. In any other circumstance I would not object to being misquoted, however this project holds significant importance as it not only places me in a sensitive situation with my neighbors (especially the one accused of “damaging a drainage pipe”), but it also misrepresents my position on this entire proposal.

When I purchased my Linda Drive home in the Summer of 2013, the previous homeowner explained to my family and I that they have been trying to have an official drainage easement created and maintained by the City of Gallup because the lay of the land naturally directs water flow onto my/their property.  Upon first moving in, the swale on my property was maintained by the City in terms of the land being weed whacked and rid of small debris. However, as the years passed the swale continued to direct water flow (both in small and large quantities) and no response or action from the City was received. It wasn’t until I sent a recent email to the Assistant City Manager that it was maintained again.

My attendance to the public meeting was to voice my concern (again and again) about the water drainage on my property. I have come to learn from the City of Gallup that the design of this project on Linda Drive is prepared to have continued use of the existing swale on my property. Therefore, my issue with this project is the swale and not the piped drainage system behind my home - of which I had no previous knowledge to make a claim like the one stated above.  The City maintains that the installation of sidewalks on the street will not create an increased flow of water onto my property, I disagree.

It is true that I am excited for this project and the reconstruction to place sidewalks. I am anxiously looking forward to the development of my neighborhood at least in the sense of providing secure walkways for the children and passersby of the community. However, I am not thrilled about the project’s plan to allow water to continue onto my property (which poses a greater threat for my neighbor) without proper infrastructure in place. My advocacy efforts on this issue continue.

Chelsea Kettering
Gallup, N. M.