6 Flood Solutions Escambia Needs
Since 2015, Escambia County has only completed 11 of the 228 projects officials said they needed to address its flooding problem. We’re highlighting 6 of the many remaining that would make a big difference.
Commissioner Steven Barry’s district battled two recent, major flood events: the 500-year flood in 2014 and the 100-year flood from Hurricane Sally.
First proposed in the 2015 stormwater needs assessment, the West Roberts Road regional pond would reduce flooding in Bristol Park, Bristol Creek, and Asbury Hills.
The Next Steps
Escambia County knows this pond will protect homes from flooding. Residents need to contact Commissioner Barry and let him know it’s time to finish Project 22 from the 2015 Stormwater Needs Assessment. Every month the Escambia County commissioners hold a county meeting that begins with a public forum. This gives residents the most direct contact with their commissioner.
Commissioner Doug Underhill represents Lake Charlene’s district and has shown support for the FEMA project. All four of the other county commissioners also voted to execute an easement that allowed construction to start in May. But construction on phase 1 has to finish by the end of the year or the county risks losing the grant to pay for it.
Residents should call and email Commissioner Underhill, attend the county commissioner meetings and continually remind the county that not finishing both the FEMA project and the Bridle Trail Pond projects is unacceptable.
The Bottom Line
Even with the grant and easement secured — and the support of homeowners — the county must finish the FEMA project on time. But that isn’t enough. The county also needs to complete the phase two Bridle Trail Pond outfall project. Residents need to let the county, especially Commissioners Underhill and Barry, know that these flood projects need to be a top priority.
The current pipe regulating the water levels at Lake Charlene.
Proposed new infrastructure to help with ground-level flooding at Lake Charlene.
3.Kupfrian Park Still Needs Better Drainage
Escambia County ranked this project high on their 2015 stormwater needs assessment list but has only completed the acquisition and design phase as of April 2020.
Commissioner Lumon May’s District 3 needs nearly $1m to address flooding issues on Hernandez and Lakeview between Pace and J Street.
The county’s own 2015 stormwater assessment found that the Kupfrian Park area badly needed stormwater ponds and a conveyance system to improve drainage.
The Big Picture
District 3 has only secured $1.3m of the nearly $48m his district needs for stormwater projects.
The county commissioners meet every month and hold a public forum before each meeting. District 3 residents can also write and call Commissioner May and Chairman Steven Barry to let them know Project 17 from the 2015 Stormwater Needs Assessment must be funded.
4.Warrington Needs a New Stormwater System
After 2014’s 500-year flood hit Warrington, Escambia County determined the subdivision needed this $2m project. The county was slow to move, and the neighborhood got swamped again in Hurricane Sally.
The county's 2015 assessment found that the existing stormwater system put too much pressure on infrastructure in the Barrancas Avenue area.
Warrington needed, and still needs, a new system along Jamison Street and Rue Max Street that discharges directly to Bayou Chico to take pressure off of overwhelmed infrastructure. Additionally, the system should connect to Lexington Terrace stormwater ponds to provide water quality improvement prior to discharge to the wetlands.
The Big Picture
Commissioner Doug Underhill’s District 2 has funded projects totaling $19m of the $57m assessment. Hurricane Sally showed that a lot more needs to be done.
District 2 includes some of the most heavily flooded areas in the county. Residents need to let Commissioners Underhill and Barry know that Project 66 from the 2015 Stormwater Needs Assessment must be funded.
5. Restore the Stream and Wetland Near Mariners Village
Fixing drainage around Mariners Village remains one of the most important, but incomplete, projects in Commissioner Jeff Bergosh's District 1.
In 2015, the Escambia County stormwater assessment said the merging of two nearby creeks caused upstream flooding that “affects Mariners Village to the northwest and a creek along Dog Track Road to the northeast.”
This $3.4m project would restore the nearby stream and wetland and construct a stormwater pond.
The Big Picture
Commissioner Bergosh’s district has funded projects totaling $4m of the $70m assessment.
District 1 has only funded 6% of stormwater projects the county said it needed in 2015. Residents need to let Commissioner Bergosh and Chairman Steven Barry know that Project 48 from the 2015 Stormwater Needs Assessment must be funded.
6. Fund the Proposed Twelve Oaks Stormwater System
Commissioner Robert Bender’s District 4 has funded 0% of the stormwater projects from the 2015 Escambia County Stormwater Needs Assessment. But District 4 could pass the 50% mark by funding this one $2.5 million project.
According to the county, the Twelve Oaks Area needs a new stormwater collection system to adequately discharge runoff.
This project will construct a new system that moves runoff into the existing Florida Department of Transportation system.
The Big Picture
Despite having the lowest amount of funding needed, Commissioner Bender’s district has made no progress at all towards implementing flood protection projects.
Residents need to let Commissioner Bender and Chairman Steven Barry know that Project 46 from the 2015 Stormwater Needs Assessment must be funded.