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Crumbling riverbank turns Taylor Mill man's dream home into creek tragedy

Posted at 10:47 PM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-19 00:48:43-04

TAYLOR MILL, Ky. — The rural dream home 29-year-old Bill Hall purchased in the late ‘60s neighbored a stream no more than five inches deep, he said Thursday evening.

He’s now 79 — old enough to think about leaving the home to his children and to worry that the creek, which has grown deeper, crept closer and begun to swallow his yard, will make it worthless to them. Despite his and city officials’ costly attempts to stem the tide, it only gets bigger and hungrier.

“It’s like a locomotive coming down through here,” he said. “It tears up everything that gets in the way.”

That includes the riverbank, which the city attempted to reinforce with rock baskets in 1997. Hall would later spend $10,000 on railroad ties, he said, trying to do the same. Those lasted until March 11, when the creek at last swept them away and swelled even higher.

He's tied caution tape between two tree branches to keep anyone from stepping over the increasingly steep bank.

The root of the problem, according to Hall, is development upstream. When he moved in, the source of the creek was partially overgrown by trees and other plant life that absorbed much of the water.

Hall believes the housing construction projects that removed them also removed his most important line of defense.

“They cut the trees down, uprooted the vegetation,” he said. “Nothing to stop the water. The water comes off the hill, you wouldn’t believe it.”

He added he’s attempted to ask the city of Taylor Mill to help him again like it did in 1997. City Administrator Brian Haney even came down to meet with him, later sending two maintenance workers and an engineer.

Communication stopped after March 11, according to Hall — right when his situation became even more desperate.

“I can’t keep going on like this,” he said. “Somebody needs to do something to save my house. … All they have to do is come back down here, and do a better job, a different job than what they did in 1997.”

Hall and his wife still love their home, he said. They feel that, as Taylor Mill taxpayers for 50 years, they should have the city’s attention as they face an existential threat to the life they’ve built and the legacy they hope to leave for their children.

“The way things stand today, it’s not worth nothing to them,” he said. “If they wanted to sell it, they couldn’t sell it.”

And he doesn’t want to move.

“It’s a little bit late in the game to buy a home, condominium house or something else.”