City to get grant to help with couple's erosion problem - - Columbia, South Carolina |

City to get grant to help with couple's erosion problem

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A federal grant is the answer to one West Columbia couple's month-long fear on the edge of erosion.

Robert and Sue Allen told WIS this week that they did not know from day to day whether they would wake up in the morning with a home. The Allens' brick home on Natchez Trail sits only a few feet from the edge of a cliff caused by erosion after heavy rains resulted in a neighborhood creek overflowing and washing into their yard.

Two days after WIS' report, West Columbia Mayor Joe Owens said the city is going to sponsor a federal grant to fix the erosion in the couple's yard.

"We are doing it for safety reasons," Owens said. "The storm drains are still the responsibility of DOT (S.C. Department of Transportation), but we have a moral responsibility to the Allens."

This news brought joy and relief to the Allen home.

"I'm on cloud nine," Sue Allen said. "It was after 8:30 p.m. (Wednesday) night that I got a call from the Mayor. He said, ‘We are going to save your house. We are not going to let it go down the river.'"

The federal Soil Conservation Commission visited the Allen home this week to evaluate the problem. It was at that time, the Commission told the city of West Columbia that a grant is available if a sponsor will step up. Since the city is doing it to save the Allens' home, the grant will tie them to 25 percent of the total cost.

Owens said the city will be in contact with SCDOT to ensure the agency pays for the repairs that are needed.

"That's awesome," Sue said. "I'm telling you that West Columbia is the best place in the world."

Officials and engineers are evaluating the property to create a plan of what needs to be completed and will submit the paperwork to the federal government by Monday. The property work can start as early as next week.

"We are going to move forward and do all we need to do," Owens said.

Based on preliminary estimates, Owens said the repair can cost up to $100,000.

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