(CN) – Nebraska’s only Underground Railroad site recognized by the National Park Service filed a lawsuit Wednesday that blames Nebraska City for extensive water and sewer damage caused to the historic property.
In its complaint, the Mayhew Cabin Foundation alleges that Nebraska City failed to properly maintain drainage located on its property, which led to severe flooding and erosion on multiple occasions.
The Mayhew Cabin historic site is home to John Brown’s Cave, a cave named for an abolitionist ally and associated with hiding former slaves while they eluded authorities on their escape to freedom in Canada.
While the famous Mayhew Cabin itself was not damaged, the caves suffered heavy flooding from rainwater and drainage issues. The flooding caused the temporary closing of the site until the issue is resolved.
“It is with deep regret that we announce that the Mayhew Cabin Museum site is closed due to severe flooding issues. It is our intention to re-open the site as soon as possible,” the museum wrote in a public statement on its website.
The foundation claims that Nebraska City was directing flood, sewer and surface water through storm sewer inlets to a ravine located on the foundation’s property. Due to the severity of the damage, the site has been closed since late May, prompting the foundation to seek approximately $4.4 million in damages.
The compensatory damages requested the amount to cover the construction of a new museum building, repairs to damaged tunnel exits and walkways, erosion to the site, lost income from closures and $3 million as the lion’s share for punitive damages.