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Couple desperate after city's stormwater clogs retention pond

Posted at 7:09 PM, May 06, 2019

TULSA, Okla. — An elderly Tulsa couple says they can't move forward with retirement because they can't sell their house.

The problem is - there's a pond on their property that's full of debris and it is causing flooding.

They say the city's stormwater is causing their pond to flood and the city won't do anything about it.

78-year-old Jim Seaman is a retired naval officer. Most of his career was spent in Vietnam.

Jim is also a retired CPA and disabled.

He and his wife bought this house in south Tulsa, in the Guier Woods neighborhood. Thirteen years ago, it came with a pond in the front yard.

It’s beautiful to look at, but the Seamans didn't realize that the city's stormwater flows across their property and into the pond.

"Well, we're trapped,” Jim Seaman said.

That's how Jim and his wife feel. They can't sell the house because debris from nearby neighborhoods washed into the pond, and maintenance on it is the first thing potential buyers want to know about

“This is a retention pond,” he said “It's designed to retain floodwaters that come down under 71st Street. It doesn't do that when it's full of debris… children's toys balls basketballs, all sorts of trash that gets washed down from the other side of 71st Street.”

That debris has no problem flowing into the Seamans pond, but it can't get through the drainage gate and move on to Fred Creek and eventually the Arkansas River.

It has to be fished out.

The blockage also causes the pond to overflow flooding streets in Guier Woods and soaking nearby garages.

The debris also sinks in the shallow pond causing other equipment, like a fountain that hasn't worked in years, to break down.

"I would like to see the city short-term dredge or clean out the pond and restore it to its normal function,” Jim said.

The Seamans say the neighborhood association agreed to maintain the pond when they moved in, but a new board of directors has now refused.

In the past couple of years Jim found an amendment in the city's stormwater management and hazard mitigation program rules he believes holds them responsible.

But, until the city agrees, Jim and his wife can't sell their home and move into assisted living that they both need.

We contacted the City of Tulsa's stormwater department and they were not able to do an interview with us before news time.

We also talked with the manager of the Guier Woods Neighborhood Association, which also was not available to answer our questions.

By the way, the Seamans pay $1,500 a month in HOA fees.

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