Beckley residents upset about infrastructure issues

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — During the Beckley City council meeting on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 several people expressed their concerns for the infrastructure in the area.

Flooded driveways and lawns. Damaged foundations and icy winter roads. Residents of Hartley Avenue, Hunter Street, Hager Street, and others nearby told 59News when it rains, it pours. The streets all sit on hills, and they feel trapped by the water on all sides.

“We are just scared, we can’t go to sleep when it rains, were scared, our things move around, and it’s just really not safe, it’s a hazard. It has to be a hazard,” said Beatrice Pannell-Johnson, who lived in Beckley her whole life.

Pannell-Johnson said the flooding happened her entire life and she is tired of feeling scared. She is not the only one. Pannell-Johnson said for years she and her neighbors tried calling to get something done, but they said the same thing happens every time.

“They come, the water goes down and we just worry about when it rains again and how bad it is going to be,” said Pannell-Johnson.

For Eugene Nabors Sr., the lack of urgency makes him feel neglected.

“It makes me wonder, well do they care about this part of the community or not,” said Nabors.

At the latest city council meeting, Mayor Rob Rappold sat down with Pannell-Johnson and a number of residents to discuss the problem. Rappold wanted them to know he was aware of the issue, and plans to hold a community forum in August to discuss it.

“It is a problem that we know exists, we have tried band-aid remedies that have been alluded too,” said Mayor Rappold.

Pannell-Johnson said the issue is not about awareness, it is about action.

“We just expect the city to do something, it is time for them to do something. It is overtime for them to do something,” said Pannell-Johnson.

Pannell-Johnson said she and other residents filed a class action lawsuit against the city through the NAACP.

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