Officials work to prevent future flooding in Lee County
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Heavy flooding took over the Island Park neighborhood, not once, but twice back in 2017.
“It was pretty flooded. Some areas were worse than others. Particularly in the intersection here, there could be as much as a foot of water. It didn’t come to the building, but it was still pretty significant,” said owner of Carts MD, Mike Stone.
Floodwater damaged several businesses and homes in South Fort Myers, it was a nightmare for many. Denny Billec, manager at Phantom Fireworks arrived at work that day and noticed it was impossible to drive through the parking lot.
“We came to work in the morning thinking we’re going to start a normal day. I’m pulling into the parking lot here and we couldn’t get into the place. It was not a river, I don’t know what it was, maybe a canal let’s say and we couldn’t get into the store. That lasted about 3 days,” said Billec.
Since then, Lee County officials performed drainage enhancements and cleared up ditches and culverts to make sure they’re prepared for the next rainstorm.
“Our goal is to try to mitigate any flooding situation. During those two rain events we had 30 inches of rain in a little over 2 weeks and it’s just impossible for any system to hold that much rain. We did 3 phases associated with the storm. Since Irma we haven’t had an issue, there’s been no major flooding. It’s really important for us and the public to know that, our ultimate goal is not to move the problem but to help everyone globally,” said deputy county manager, Dave Harner.
With a handful of business nearby, and hurricane season here, people said they’re not letting their guard down this time around.
“The showroom glasses are hurricane proof. We all have plywood and all the tools that we need in case we need to board up with plywood. There’s precautions in place that if we need them, we’ll get to work and get done things properly,” said Billec.
For more information and videos on the flood mitigation changes county officials have made, click here.
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