Flooding Gets to Be Too Much for Some

By Strickland, Sandy | The Florida Times Union, March 4, 1998 | Go to article overview

Flooding Gets to Be Too Much for Some


Strickland, Sandy, The Florida Times Union


Fed up with four floods in eight years, William Phillips

proposed a solution to the Wills Branch Creek problem: Bulldoze

the homes and let the area return to its original wetlands.

His emotional plea was greeted with applause at a town meeting

on Thursday sponsored by City Councilman Mike Hogan, who

represents the area.

Phillips said the floods have caused about $130,000 damage to

his home over the years.

"Buying the homes and tearing them down would be a lot

cheaper," he said. "The government already has put as much money

into my home as what it's worth."

Phillips was one of about 200 people who attended the four-hour

meeting at Hyde Park Baptist Church.

The meeting had somber overtones because torrential rains had

caused more than 35 homes to be flooded the prior week, the

first time Wills Branch has overflowed its banks in February.

Past floods have been in the fall.

Residents wanted to know if their homes still would have

flooded if the oft-delayed project to widen and deepen the

meandering Cedar River tributary had been completed.

Most likely, there still would have been flooding in some homes

because of the storm's magnitude, said Mike Ornello, project

manager for the Army Corps of Engineers. The degree of

protection afforded depends on a house's elevation, he said.

That led several residents to suggest that the government

simply buy the homes and bulldoze them.

"You are proposing a BandAid on an injury that needs to be

amputated," Leslie Hodges said. "I'm not pointing the finger at

any of you personally, but the reality is that this has been

going on for nine years. We are your customers, we have a right

to be served and the city has been derelict in its

responsibility to us."

Phillips, who moved to Tallahassee five years ago, said he's

had a "for sale" sign in front of his house for much of that

time. …

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