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Quincy officials work on flood issues in city

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By Alice Du Pont

Quincy city officials knew there were some pipes in the city that were too small to carry water from the kind of rain that fell April 2. They also knew there would be some flooding, because there is a history of flood-prone areas in the city.

On Tuesday night, during the regular meeting of the city commission, several residents explained the flooding and erosion they experienced during and after the rains.

Joan Wimmer said the erosion behind her Magnolia Forest home is so close she has major concerns about her home. So far, she said, the city has been responsive to the needs of the new development and she asked that the erosion problem be addressed before it gets worse.

"This is a new development. I would ask that you get on this as quickly as possible," said Commissioner Finley Cook.

But others had problems that date back for years. Flooding on Harvey Suber's property on Fletcher Drive, at King and 14th streets, has been a problem for years. He said his father gave the city part of the property to use for a utility easement in exchange for maintaining and paving the road over 50 years ago. The street has not been paved and water runs over the road during heavy rains, causing a problem that lead to stopped-up culverts and dirt deposits.

"After 50 years, the street has not been paved and now the city has stopped maintaining it. They tell me they don't have the manpower, knowledge or equipment to do the job. I ask that y'all come down and take a look at it," Suber said.

He said he has been waiting 46 years for paving and is now asking the city to put sand or dirt down to help prevent further erosion. And added to that, after rains, teens take over and use the slippery clay to spin out in their cars.

"If you don't want to maintain it, take your stuff out and I'll maintain it myself," Suber told commissioners.

Across town on Circle Drive, James Bennett wants the city to buy his house. Runoff and sewage have backed up inside his home during heavy rain events, he said.

"The problem has gone from bad to worse to unbearable. You can imagine the health problems that come with flooding and they are still developing property above me. I don't see any way except for the city to purchase and make it a holding pond or do something else with it," Bennett said.

Jack McLean, city manager, said the city's drainage problems stem from pipes that can best be compared to Mighty Mouse.

"They're strong but they're small. We have 12-inch pipes where we should have 18, we've got 18-inch pipes where we should have 25, and some homes are in the wrong place. They never should have been built where they are," he said.

He said staff has identified drainage problems throughout the city and the causes and the possible solutions for some of the properties," he said.

Other properties, like Bennett's, will become a part of a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency package for replacement funds. Called the 404 FEMA Program, federal funds are given to cities to buy homes that are in flood-prone areas.

McLean said some problems will be solved with regional storm water facilities in nerighborhoods.

"We will be holding neighborhood meetings to inform people what we are planning to do to alleviate their problems," he said.

The long range plan includes addressing problems at the following streets:

•14th and King

•12th and 13th

•King Street

•North GF & A Drive

•118 Circle Drive

•GF & A Drive at Stanley Street

•610 BW Roberts Street

•Valley Drive

•Patten Street

•Crawford at 8th Street

•Jackson Heights holding pond

•7th Street

•Florida and Lincoln

•Flagler and Hamilton

•MLK and Shelfer

•Love Street

McLean said other streets and areas could be added.

"Sometimes when we get in there we might find that one problem leads to another. We want citizens to know that we are aware and that we're going to do everything we can as quickly (as possible)," McLean said.

Cook said for the past 2 years the city has gone after Community Development Block Grant funds for housing.

"I'm about ready to see us go after some of that money for infrastructure," he said.