Escambia County Commissioner Steven Barry Offers Pond Fix to Flood Defenders

Escambia County Commissioner Steven Barry Offers Pond Fix to Flood Defenders

After Escambia County Flood Defenders Darlyn Butler and her brother Skip Butler got on the microphone at a town hall, their commissioner said he can do something to fix their stormwater pond.

  • The problem: The Butlers live near the Cove Avenue Pond in District 5. Escambia’s former stormwater manager and Flood Defenders’ Advisor Chris Curb says that the pond “was not designed to handle today’s storm events and is strained by overflow” from another nearby pond on Ponderosa Drive.

  • The solution: Curb suggests a three-step solution:
    1. Provide buyouts for property owners in the highest-risk areas nearest the two ponds.
    2. Expand the Cove Avenue pond using the new space acquired.
    3. Connect the two ponds.

Instead, Commissioner Steven Barry suggested changes to the Cove Avenue pond.

  • The proposal: “I now have been told that I can do something with that pond… I’m going to continue moving forward with doing something with that pond,” he told Skip Butler at a town hall. “We can go 13 feet deeper. We can dig out some of the sides and have it function at a higher rate.”

  • What the expert says: “The County violated its own Land Development Code in constructing the Ponderosa Drive Pond, and under-designed the Cove Avenue Pond for today’s storm events,” according to Curb.

The takeaway: Flood Defenders pushed Commissioner Barry to offer a fix for their ineffective stormwater pond, but his proposal does not go far enough. Join Flood Defenders Darlyn and Skip Butler and let Escambia County know that quick fixes are not the answer.