Grandmother’s home floods with Rails to Trail construction


SPINDALE — Madge Flack has spent most of her life in her home on Railroad Avenue. She describes the old neighborhood as close and friendly and the lumberyard that existed decades ago and now is home to Food Lion.

Madge Flack

Flack understands all too well that things change. However, when water cascaded down the Rails-to-Trail embankment across her drive to fill the basement of her home, she sought help.

At the county administration building, she was told that County Manager Steve Garrison was booked for months and she could not speak with him. However, with more heavy rains coming Flack and her family pursued other routes.

Flack’s property is zoned for commercial use and is adjacent to the property purchased by Rutherford Hospitality LLC whose agent is Kent Bortner. Her land also abuts the Rails-To-Trails county owned property. An offer was made a while back to purchase her home and land for a possible chain hotel.

As the contractor of Rails-to-Trails dug up railroad ties and graded the trail, a sudden increase of water coming over the abutment flooded her home through the basement windows. The furnishings and possessions of the residents were ruined.

On Tuesday David Odom of Odom Engineering, Town of Spindale Manager Scott Webber, Town of Rutherfordton Manager Doug Barrick were to assess the situation. Only Doug Barrick responded to our request for comment on the plans to protect Madge Flack’s property.

The trail partners are working hard to improve the thermal belt rail trail into a corridor that we can all be proud off and in a timely manner. As with any construction project there will be issues that arise that need to be addressed. In this case the partners and our construction administration have worked with the property owner to address issues in a timely manner including meeting with this owner on multiple occasions to address her concerns. As construction continues the corridor will be much improved and while we would all hope for construction to occur faster, this project will take time to produce a final product that will be a showcase corridor for our community. The trail has increase in popularity over the years and we know this has impacted daily users but the end product is going to be worth the wait!     –  Doug Barrick

A trail does not negate Ms. Flack’s right to peaceful enjoyment of her property. Additionally, her repairs and losses of her property are deserving of reparation.


Waterline marks show the depth of the rushing water into the basement window.

Wash area from water flowing over the trail bed.

Water flowing into the yard during a rainstorm

Driveway damaged by water wash.


While the project manager assured Flack that those piles of railroad ties did not have the Formosa termites, inside she showed me the damage done by a particularly aggressive termite infestation


Piles of railroad ties line Flack’s property. Some appear to have termite damage.