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Stagnant Water in Church Hill

A neighbor shares:

Last year Broad Street was re-paved. The improvement however did not seem to take into account how it would effect drainage by simply adding a thick new layer of asphalt over the existing street. As a result our block (specifically the NW corner of 31st and East Broad) has had their drain ostensibly dammed by the new pavement. It leaves us with a 6″ – or deeper in parts – stagnant and rancid pond in front of our homes. It attracts mosquitoes, stinks and makes it generally unpleasant for LONG after a rain storm or even after a light to moderate rain occurs.

I personally have put in SEVERAL requests to the city to fix it – by phone,, SeeClickFix app – so too have a few of our neighbors. We ultimately get the same response every time: ‘under review’ and ‘completed’. I have NEVER seen ANYONE come out to address the situation.

Let’s not forget that standing water can post some risk to health especially as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. This is a common occurrence in Church Hill North and in other sections of the neighborhood. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.


Brandon Czeizinger 08/29/2018 at 6:14 AM

Clean the drains and “push” the water with shovels or brooms down hill

Hansi Armentrout 08/29/2018 at 9:17 AM

The drains are clear. The issue is that the new asphalt has created a dam at the drain. Basically creating a bowl instead of a downhill drain path. I have personally done the ‘push the water ‘downhill’ thing multiple times, only it’s more like pushing the whole block and it’s more UPhill. It needs to be fixed

Brandon Czeizinger 08/29/2018 at 3:25 PM

All the money the city paid to be Vdot they couldn’t actually even put the right fall on the asphalt?

BAF 08/29/2018 at 6:36 AM

Probably too obvious but have they reached out to Newbille’s office?

Rex Griffin Ruybe 08/29/2018 at 7:03 AM

It is the NW corner of 31st and Broad, but it’s actually the 3000 block of Broad that’s impacted. It’s really gross…

Diana Palese 08/29/2018 at 7:32 AM

Pour some bleach in to keep mosquitos from breading untill fixed

Mike Farley 08/29/2018 at 7:40 AM

And yet we pay a stormwater tax

Hansi Armentrout 08/29/2018 at 9:20 AM

RIGHT?!? Also the street lights have been out for so long I can’t even remember when they functioned. Don’t we pay some sort of tax for that too?!

neighbor 08/29/2018 at 8:28 AM

That’s going to be really dangerous in the winter when the puddle freezes over. I live on Chimborazo blvd and the road has been horrible for years and there hasn’t been any meaningful repair done in the entire time I’ve lived here. One of the worst spots is where Chimborazo blvd becomes Oakwood Avenue.

GD 08/29/2018 at 9:28 AM

might help to mention that this will be a safety issue in winter if a puddle were to freeze over in the next requests you submit

Steve 08/29/2018 at 9:52 AM

This looks more like a leaking water supply than a sewer problem.

Jay Nelson 08/29/2018 at 10:28 AM

The atrocity !!! Captivating story…

Resident 08/29/2018 at 11:51 AM

Se click fix. Call newbille, write letters. Again n again

Or complain to ourselves and wait till it fixes itself

RB 08/29/2018 at 12:30 PM

This is not a fix, but rather a temporary aid. Those who are immediately affected, they could siphon the water to a drain using a garden hose. The only permanent way to fix this is with construction.

Eds 08/29/2018 at 12:41 PM

How about calling the tv news stations?

Resident 08/29/2018 at 1:58 PM

The Honorable Cynthia I. Newbille
Councilwoman, Richmond City Council
Richmond East End 7th Voter District
804.646.3012 (office tel)
804.646.5468 (fax)
email: email link
email form (Recommended for public computers): email form link
Samuel Patterson, Liaison 804.646.3012 (office tel)
email: liaison email link
email form (Recommended for public computers): liaison email form link

Resident 08/29/2018 at 2:04 PM

Maybe chisle off that little part of asphalt that’s in the way. That’s probably what the city will do months in the future.

crd 08/29/2018 at 2:24 PM

@14 I like that idea, try Channel 12 ‘On Your Side’ as it sounds like all other avenues are being ignored by the city.

AO 08/29/2018 at 3:37 PM

Email WTVR and they might help you with their Problem Solvers program.

MB 08/29/2018 at 3:48 PM

There was somebody from Channel 8 out there earlier this afternoon. It’s also more than just a drain issue. Water has been coming from under the sidewalk in the middle of the block for months. Looks like a leaky main or something.

Mister F 08/29/2018 at 3:49 PM

Poor Hansi, I’ve seen that guy pushing water into that drain numerous times. Maybe Jay can spare some free time after reading “captivating” stories to go help him…

Kay 08/29/2018 at 3:50 PM

The neighbors on that block should get together for a cleaning/painting party-it’s hands down the dirtiest, unkempt block on Broad. The houses look dirty and need paint (even a cleaning would help), the yards are a mess, the sidewalks are filthy and now this… Please clean it up!

Allen Reynolds 08/29/2018 at 4:19 PM

If the aspalt is a bowl shape and small than it wouldn’t hurt to use a few bags of repair aspalt. About 20 lbs each. You can flatten it out with a most garden tools used for flattening out soil.

Mister F 08/29/2018 at 10:24 PM

Kay, living near that block, I can tell you that I’m so glad you said this. There is no doubt that the neighbors there appreciate your astute observations and unsolicited expert insight. They should immediately convene to to craft an action plan and define deliverables to you. Would you like them to windex your glass house, too?

Jason s 08/30/2018 at 12:11 AM

Kay… you’re a jerk.
That is all, carry on.

Kay 08/30/2018 at 4:10 AM

Mister F. It’s not necessary to deliver anything to me…maybe they should take action for themselves. A little self-respect could go a long way. Sorry if the truth hits home…

Debra Miller 08/30/2018 at 6:13 AM

Mosquito nursery

31st & Broad 08/30/2018 at 7:02 AM

“The neighbors on that block” represent the diversity, character and friendliness that make them the reason I finally feel at home in the city I have lived in my entire life. Walk down this block and you will always get a smile and a hello-even from the porches that need some paint.

SueWho 08/30/2018 at 8:34 AM

I don’t think that calling your neighbor a jerk solves any problems. There are numerous sidewalks, tree wells, and postage stamp front yards that are overgrown with weeds all around this neighborhood.

There is a city ordinance regarding vegetation and property maintenance which is mostly disregarded by homeowners and renters. If someone is very elderly or has physical limitations I can understand it ; otherwise, it signals that you’re too lazy or self-important to maintain what you own. If tiny yards and a stretch of sidewalk are too difficult to manage, rent an apartment or condo.

Weeds and grass clippings (this goes for parks maintenance folks especially) should never be sweep into the streets because they clog the storm water drains. This whole situation sounds like the DPU, VDOT, and our city council ‘rep’ should attend to this ASAP to find a permanent solution to this mosquito breeding and smelly situation.

Hansi 08/30/2018 at 10:48 AM

I take actual offense to being told I don’t have self respect because someone thinks we are dirty…you know, the interviewer asked me if the puddle made me want to leave and my first reaction was: ‘hell no. I love this place, I love my city, my house and my neighbors’ but reading the ‘dirtiest block’ comment really bummed me out. Maybe I don’t know my neighbors anymore. Maybe Its not MY city. Maybe it IS time to leave when my neighbors start to just fundamentally misunderstand what life on this block is about…well anyway.

For some clarification: these last few months it has been in he 90° Range out, so yard work can be a difficult business to attack especially during a long work week. I personally have tried to do something about the pond, but don’t always have the time or electrolytes to tackle every issue with regards to my front yard…or backyard for that matter. Also paint costs money. A GOOD DEAL of money actually and if one is not blessed with professional equipment and knowhow, a paint crew also costs A GOOD DEAL of money. Not everyone who owns a pace on this beautiful – YES I SAID BEAUTIFUL – block is endowed with the funds necessary to overhaul their house to a standard that someone else deems appropriate.

We do our best with what we have and we love one another. There is not much more I could ever ask for from a neighborhood.

Angela 08/30/2018 at 1:51 PM

@30 – thank you! I remember when there was a house in my mother’s neighborhood that had an absolutely awful roof. One of the neighbors complained about it and said she should be forced to fix it. My mother said “you have no idea what her financial situation is. Maybe she wants to fix it and can’t afford to.” No one wants property to become dilapidated. But we should also try to be kind and understanding of other people’s situations.

Kat 08/30/2018 at 2:41 PM

Kay, that was so rude. You may not realize it but there are quite a few elderly people on that block who should not be working outside in this heat/physically cannot perform outdoor tasks at all. As well as people who may not have the funds to hire a crew to re-paint/renovate their homes/porches.
If it bothers you so much why not volunteer to help them out?
I think that the block has character and the neighbors there are so friendly.
Like I tell the CHILDREN that I care for, if you dont have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all. Your comment was completely unnecessary.
To my neighbors on that block, much love to y’all.

Kat 08/30/2018 at 2:43 PM

Also, Kay if you would like something like that why not move to a neighborhood in the suburbs with a neighborhood association with strict ruling about that kind of thing? Just an idea.

crd 08/30/2018 at 3:20 PM

If the residents there would just contact one or more of the local tv stations, I really think they might accomplish something. Putting people down does not seem to be helping things get done here.

jean mcdaniel 08/30/2018 at 3:54 PM

Hansi, I don’t know how long you have lived here so you may or may not remember the invasion of the pink flamingos. There are some real important people that live up here and do not hesitate to let you know how you should live in their neighborhood!

A family moved in to a house on 28th street.
They had moved here because their five year old child had cancer and was being intensively treated at MVC.

Someone hand delivered a letter to this family chastising them for not getting rid of their moving boxes from the front porch fast enough, not weeding their sidewalk and was informed that this neighborhood did not tolerate such “tacky” behaviour as this in the “old and historic neighborhood of Church Hill”. The author of the letter made it look like it came from the neighborhood association and it did not! We never did find out who wrote and delivered this letter. They were not brave enough to identify themselves.


When the rest of use found out about this we banded together to get rid of the boxes, clean up the weeds ( that had been there long before they moved in ), welcome them to the neighborhood and apologize profusely for the ‘ anomous ‘ letter! We were sincerely pissed off about this letter and how insensitive this was to this family.

However, one long time resident came up with a BRILLIANT stroke of showing the author just how out of line he or she was. In a show of support and with some humor, within a week, pink flamingos sprouted up in almost every yard in the area. I remember buying 12 of them. I also bought extra long sticks so they would show above the fence. I think the newspaper did a story about the pink flamingos and why they were everywhere.

Maybe CHPN could look it up and run it?

Tom N Eileen 08/30/2018 at 5:51 PM

The Virginia Dept. of Health Div. of Environmental Epidemiology, the people charged with mosquito-borne disease prevention and control, may want to hear about this. Call them at (804) 864-8182.

Mister F 08/30/2018 at 8:58 PM

I’m so embarrassed that I muddied my words to Kay, who I find to be painfully distasteful and someone I acutely dislike already.

Let me break this down, and echo some of Hansi’s words with questions that we all likely have:

1. Kay, who are you to levy disdain on a population?
2. Are broad categorizations something you subscribe to? (akin to “these people”)
3. What picturesque and immaculate block do you inhabit?
4. What have you done to beautify blemishes in your immediate surrounding?
5. How do you expect individuals of all economic postures to undergo substantive aesthetic overhauls simply to fit the desire of a postcard-perfect Broad St. image?

And most-importantly, why are you not living in an HOA-controlled neighborhood (e.g., Twin Hickory) where you can exert your amazingly-unwelcome opinion on those who appreciate the beauty of our neighborhood?

Not to hide behind any anonymity, my name is Matt Curtin. I live on the 300 block of 31st, and welcome a debate.

In the wise words of Craig, “Bye Felicia”.

Rick Tatnall 08/30/2018 at 9:36 PM

Hi Hansi,

I got to meet you through the WRIC news report on the stagnant water issue

I thank you for your individual efforts to solve a community problem and ask that you not be dissuaded from your initial reaction of love for your city and your neighborhood. Unfortunately there are a lot of pathetically negative people in our community and many of them are regular commenters on CHPN – people that have never lifted a finger to support the community, but are quick to point their finger at others. I suggest you consider the source, then smile at their unfortunate disconnect with the workings of a progressive and connective community.

In the end, I hope that all of the attention to this problem has connected you to Councilwoman Newbille, as she is the person who can remedy this situation quickly, if she chooses. Please make sure you let those of us in the community that appreciate your efforts know how we can help fix this problem.

Kitty 08/31/2018 at 10:54 AM

I appreciate all of the neighborhood’s support for Hansi and this community problem.

The comments about this block come from someone that I’ve experienced in other social media sources to be vile, insecure and downright rude. I am happy to see everyone else defending our neighborhood and coming together to do the right thing.

And, Jean – thank you for the backstory on the pink flamingos! I knew bits and pieces of it when we moved here back in 2006 and they were prevalent in Church Hill. We proudly displayed one in our yard in support of what we had learned.

Perhaps there should be a call for another PF frenzy. I bet there will be an end of summer sale at Lowe’s this weekend!

who’s in??

hansi 08/31/2018 at 1:45 PM

We literally could not have gotten these results and so swiftly without your help!
There are trucks and workers attending to the issue as I write this! I never thought the noise of a construction crew hammering away outside my window would sound so good!

Thanks also to my wonderful neighbors. It really does make me love this city so much more.

hansi 08/31/2018 at 1:45 PM

ALSO: I’m in for the flamingos!

Hansi Armentrout 08/31/2018 at 2:23 PM

DUDES!!! THEY’RE FIXING IT!!!! SO GREAT! THANK YOU CHPN FOR ALL YOUR HELP! Thanks to my awesome neighbors and neighborhood for your loving support and help getting this done!

Karol Smith Tompkins 09/01/2018 at 8:25 AM

This is great news! I love our hood so much. Thanks for making this happen.

Hansi Armentrout 09/04/2018 at 10:46 AM

Yay! They’re back in jack! (Sorry, couldn’t help the Ac/dc reference!) jack hammering this time and my faith in humanity is restored.

crd 08/31/2018 at 5:53 PM

That is great news folks. Hope it gets fixed totally and soon.

Liz 09/01/2018 at 7:27 AM

Great news Hansi and all!!

EDS 09/01/2018 at 8:51 AM

Sounds like a happy ending!

L 09/02/2018 at 2:01 PM

Reading these comments got me thinking: Kay’s tone was completely out of line, but s/he isn’t necessarily wrong for thinking people should maintain their homes. The more a house deteriorates, the more expensive and difficult it becomes to fix. While I love the pink flamingos story, I really like the suggestions some of the other posters made to offer to help, rather than criticize. How do we go about doing this, as a neighborhood? I have plenty of painting equipment/toils I’d be happy to lend out when not in use, and could occasionally offer my time, but I have no idea how I would even approach the issue – I wouldn’t want to inadvertently insult my neighbors. Just thinking we can do more than just signalling support, but wondering if anyone has any ideas for organizing/making it happen.

hansi 09/02/2018 at 2:03 PM

unfortunately after all that work, the puddle is still not draining. I am going to give it a little time to see if the city will take another crack at it. It WAS a Friday before the holiday. Maybe they’ll re-visit it. I’ll keep on it and let y’all know.
thanks again!

Mister F 09/03/2018 at 9:19 AM

Awesome, Hansi! Congrats!

Writer 09/04/2018 at 9:20 AM

Sounds like a nice ending!

Hansi 09/04/2018 at 10:48 AM

Work crews are back today with heavy equipment and jack hammers! So glad. Hanks y’all.

Hansi Armentrout 09/04/2018 at 5:46 PM

Trench to the drain

Gudrun B Armentrout 09/05/2018 at 1:08 PM

Hansi our Hero!?

Hansi Armentrout 09/06/2018 at 12:00 AM

To be fair it was such a team effort.

frank pichel 09/07/2018 at 3:56 PM

Last night there was still water sitting there, though less than before. Historically there have been a lot of barely hidden springs in Church Hill. I think there’s probably one right under the sideway there. Seems like more needs to be done. Best of luck everyone.

A. Cheatham 09/09/2018 at 5:55 PM

Just walked by this and saw the drain dug, that’s progress. There’s a lot of comments here, and I’m going to pull a TL;DR. Has anyone else noticed there’s a crack in the asphalt that’s pouring out water? Pretty obvious “flow” going through the puddle. Just look about 4-5ft our from the curb, right on the line between 3004/3006. Spring or broken water main? It’s clearly got some “flow” to the water and it hasn’t rained all day.


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