Mayor eyes flooding solution

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 13, 2004

After heavy rains last week left some residents cleaning uptheir waterlogged homes and businesses, Mayor Bob Massengill saidhe is aware of the problem and is working to prevent futureflooding.

In the 24-hour period from 7 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday,the city recorded 5.4 inches of rainfall, enough to leave businessowner Veronica Sanders of VAMS with a massive cleanup job on herhands.

“I just installed carpet,” Sanders said, “and had to pull it allup.”

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Other businesses located in The Center, just off of WhitworthAvenue, experienced similar problems.

Mandy Bowman, an employee at The Works hair salon, said waterwas “ankle deep,” in her establishment.

“We’ve flooded twice in the past year,” said Bowman, who blamedblocked concrete storm drains beside the building and across thestreet.

Property manager Nancy Wooten, of Wooten Realty, said the stormdrain is not kept cleaned out.

Massengill said he met six weeks ago with Canadian NationalRailroad officials concerning Whitworth Street flooding and theneed for a culvert to be replaced.

“The culvert is located on railroad right-of-way property,” themayor said. “We can’t do anything without railroad approval. We’rewaiting on their go-ahead.”

Other city streets were reported flooded after Wednesday nightand Thursday’s heavy rainfall.

The Saint George Street area frequently floods during periods ofheavy rains. Officials are studying options to alleviate problemsin that area and elsewhere in the city. Many of the streets’residents had to be evacuated Wednesday night after rising waterapproached their homes.

The mayor, who plans a series of meetings this week to addresscity flooding said some of the fault lay with Mother Nature.

“You have a serious problem when you have 5.4 inches of rain ina 24-hour period,” Massengill said.

But he said the city can do more to prevent future problems.

“The city needs to have a longer-range plan for cleaning out therainwater and ditches,” he said.

The mayor will meet Tuesday with an Engineering Associatesengineer to begin formulating solutions to repeated flooding insome parts of Brookhaven.

“Thursday, I have a meeting with FEMA (the Federal EmergencyManagement Agency), who has programs to help alleviate ourproblems,” Massengill said.

The mayor said city workers were continuing to clean up aroundthe city.