Coatesville pastor blames poor drainage for constant damage at 118-year-old church

The tiny church in South Coatesville had just reopened in July, welcoming back a vaccinated congregation.
COATESVILLE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Flooded with two feet of water, the First Baptist Church of Bernardtown has been closed since Ida tore through the region.

The tiny church in South Coatesville had just reopened in July, welcoming back a vaccinated congregation.

Pastor Garnell Bruncon blames poor drainage on Youngsburg Road for the constant flooding.

"As that water is coming down the road, it's picking up stones and gravel and it's coming down, and all of those things are settling right in front of the church," said Bruncon.



South Coatesville Borough Council President Montez Jones says it's a state issue.

"It's a state road. Any flooding, any incidents that occur, if it spills over toward the church property, that has to come from PennDOT," said Jones.

PennDOT confirms it is in charge of the roadway and tells Action News they're looking into the matter. Anything outside or underneath of the right-of-way would fall on the borough, including pipe or drainage issues.

State Rep. Dan Williams' office is working with all parties, releasing this statement to Action News:

"It's an unfortunate situation. The church is on a steep hill on a PennDOT road that carries a lot of water with heavy rains. I've been working with the church and South Coatesville Borough, and Rep. Williams' office is coordinating with PennDOT on this and other Ida flooding issues on state roads. Flooding from Ida and a heavy storm we had in June was made worse by insufficient stormwater infrastructure at this church and throughout the area. In Harrisburg, Representative Williams continues to push for infrastructure approvements. Without them, I fear it will only get worse as we have more - and more intense - heavy storms."

Bruncon worries the church will be flooded the next time it rains again if these issues are not resolved.

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