I-TEAM gets results for Navy veteran upset about city ditch, dead tree

Erosion from ditch in backyard is dangerous for his young granddaughter

By Jennifer Waugh - The Morning Show anchor, I-Team reporter, Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects, Eric Wallace - Senior Producer, I-TEAM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The I-TEAM is getting results for a U.S. Navy veteran who said he felt like his calls to the city of Jacksonville were being ignored.

Jack Berry asked for our help after he said repeated complaints about a city ditch behind his home were not addressed. He lives on Lotus Road in Arlington, and the ditch runs behind a number of homes in his neighborhood and is visibly overgrown.

The ditch is at least 20 feet wide and 10 feet deep and has eroded so much over the last several years it is creating gaps in a fence the city installed to separate the ditch from Berry's property. He cares for his 3-year-old granddaughter and is worried she could fall through the gaps and get hurt while playing in the backyard.  

"Nothing, nobody showed up. Nobody's called, no emails, nothing," said Berry when we asked him about the response he received from the city after contacting 630-CITY.  

In addition to his concerns about the erosion, he had also requested the city remove a dead tree from inside the ditch.

"I don't want it to fall on my house when a hurricane comes," explained Berry. 

Two years ago, another tree in the ditch fell into his backyard when Hurricane Irma passed through Jacksonville and damaged the fence. Berry called the I-TEAM after he was told it would take the city five months to address his concerns about the recent dead tree and six months to do something about the ditch. 

"It needs to be taken care of, maintenance, build it (the ditch) up, build the sides up so you can get a mower in there," said Berry.

The ditch is meant to help alleviate flooding but is filled with debris, grass, weeds and trees. It does not look like it is regularly maintained. 

The I-TEAM contacted the city to find out why more has not been done to address Berry's concerns. Within a week of our call, the dead tree was removed, and Berry said someone with the city's drainage department inspected the ditch to see what more could be done to stop the erosion.

"He told me they would need to get in there and clean it out first, so they can get a better idea of how to fix it," said Berry.

We will keep you posted on when the city returns to take care of the ditch. 

Updated city of Jacksonville online portal

The city of Jacksonville has recently launched its new, upgraded online portal to make it easier for residents to file and track the progress of complaints and requested services. It's called MyJax.

You can still find it by searching "630 CITY" online -- as you may have done in the past -- or go to the direct website: MyJax.custhelp.com.

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