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South Bend business blames the state for flood damage

South Bend Business Flooding Issues.

Today's spotty rain showers didn't do much for the nerves of people still cleaning up flooding, people like Chris David.

David is the manager of Around the Corner Auto Service on U.S. 31.

During the construction of the highway's bypass, the state built a fence in the backyard of the shop, in front of a drainage ditch.

When the rain hit on Monday, the fence had so much debris caught in it, it acted as a dam. The water had nowhere to go but inside the shop.

"We are still working on the cleanup," said David. "I’ve got three employees here, and pretty much since Tuesday morning they’ve been doing nothing but clean up."

Today the store was calm, a stark contrast from the way David felt.

"I don’t want to close the doors. I don’t want it to resort to that, because I do have very good employees who depend on me, and I depend on them daily."

Before the flooding, closure never crossed David's mind. The business has been off the highway for three years.

"We built a very good reputation and rapport with the local people on the south side of South Bend," said David.

The Indiana Department of Transportation says the fence was needed to keep animals off of the highway.

The flooding damage in the auto-shop is reaching up to $120,000.

"Insurance is not going to cover it because they think it was a fault of the state, not a fault of ours," said David.

The state, though, doesn't agree.

"We had record breaking rainfall and many areas flooded, and I don’t think that fence was directly responsible for that," said Doug Moats, Public Information Officer for INDOT.

Moats thinks the drainage ditch would've overflown either way.

"Utilizing that fence as an excuse as to why that there was additionally flooding there is maybe convenient," he said. "But to be completely honest, it was the fact that we got 8 to 10 inches in a short amount of time. "

The county, however, thinks that the fence did obstruct water flow to the ditch. It hired a private contracting firm to cut down some of the fence.


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