Resident asks for movement on Mill Creek cleanup

Posted at 5:56 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 21:03:28-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — More than a year after deadly flooding overtook the community around Mill Creek, one resident wants quicker movement on the debris-filled waterway.

Other neighbors near Mill Creek are also sick of looking at the trash that's been on the banks or hanging from trees.

"There's trash everywhere," said Michelle Kelly. "With all of the green, it's real hard to think it's all there because the (leaves) hide it all. But in the fall and in the winter time, you can see it clear as day."

Kelly started a petition calling for someone to pay for the cleanup.

When the creek flooded, debris from several businesses flowed into it.

Much of the debris was from R.J. Schinner, a restaurant supply company.

There were some initial efforts to clean up, but now the company is in a legal battle with insurance.

Kelly said she doesn't want to wait for what could be long legal proceedings.

"We have to sit here for another year, waiting for a court case that most likely, they won't win?" asked Kelly. "The insurance company knows what they're doing."

She's looking to the county or state to supply money for a clean-up.

However, according to Metro Council Member Ginny Welsch, the cost is more than $10 million, and it shouldn't be the taxpayers' responsibility.

"There are some other avenues that we're going to have to explore to pay the money for this cleanup," said Welsch. "The last resort should be taxpayers. Because, taxpayers are not responsible for this debris and should not have to bear the brunt of the cleanup costs because that's just unfair."

Cleaning it up isn't a simple process. The creek is the only place residents can find endangered Nashville crayfish.

A crustacean that's kept the creek from being dredged, but now with all of the debris, Kelly asks how this is better.

"The trash has to go," she said. "In order to make this creek whole again, it's gotta go. And it's going to be time-consuming."

Welsch says clean-up of the creek is costly because it's not easy to get up the banks in many areas where there's the most debris.

She's hoping it doesn't come to using state or local funds to do it.