After Downpours, Leominster’s Burrage Avenue is Buried Avenue
By Peter Jasinski
LEOMINSTER -- Burrage Avenue residents have come to dread the kind of storms that hit the area on Tuesday.
“When we saw the forecasts for heavy rain last night, we did not sleep well,” said Ralph Poultney, who lives at 36 Burrage Ave. “We knew what was coming.”
What came was the remnants of Hurricane Florence, which brought over four inches of rain to the Leominster area in just a few hours. Much of that water ended up in the back and side yard’s of Poultney’s house and the homes of his neighbors. Several residents reported also having to deal with flooded basements.
Though flooding has never been particularly uncommon on Burrage Avenue, residents have started to blame nearby Monoosnock Country Club for a recent spike in water flow.
Al Houde Jr., who lives next door to Poultney, said the flooding increased after the golf course removed a drainage pipe that had been running behind Burrage Avenue last fall.
“We then got flooded here in November right after they did that. Then it happened a couple weeks ago and now today,” he said. “I’m not saying that’s the whole problem, but that didn’t help because things are flowing a lot more now.”
On Tuesday, a brook approximately 3-feet-wide had cut its way into Houde’s backyard, which abuts the golf course, through a strip of trees that separates Burrage Avenue from the course. The water then flooded the majority of Houde’s backyard, measuring at least 5-inches deep in some areas, before spilling into Poultney’s yard, from which it then flowed back across the street and into the backyards on the opposite side of Burrage Avenue, which are located downhill from the golf course.
The entirety of Issac ’s yard at 33 Burrage Ave. was flooded. He estimated that it had gotten to be at least 3-feet deep at the lowest end of his property.
Like his neighbors, Leon also blames the golf course for rerouting water into the neighborhood.
“From talking to other people who live here, they’ve been saying the same thing,” he said.
Leon said he had to move one of his lawnmowers to a higher part of his yard to keep it dry after his shed was flooded. He said a second lawnmower was already ruined by the floodwaters.
“Hopefully all this dries up, but other than that, there’s nothing we can do,” he said. “Our yard is destroyed and we put a lot of money into fixing it this summer.”
Poultney and Houde said they hope the city intervenes by making changes to drainage systems so more water can be accommodated.
“This area needs at least a 4-foot pipe. The city probably won’t want to do it because of money issues, but they could reroute this,” said Houde. “It’s going to be up to the city.”
Representatives with Monoosnock Country Club could not be reached for comment Tuesday despite multiple attempts.
City Public Works Director Ray Racine said Burrage Avenue is one of several low-lying areas in Leominster, which also includes Washington Square and Water Street, prone to flooding during storms.
He said the issue of drainage on Burrage Avenue is currently being reviewed by the city.
“We have hired a consultant to do a study there and try to come up with a design, so we’re on it,” said Racine, who had been out on Burrage Avenue with several other DPW workers Tuesday.
“We had six crews out since 6 a.m. addressing and cleaning the catch basins to make sure that the maximum amount of water could go down them,” he said. “But when it rains like this, you have to be patient.”
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