PACE — Nearly 30 Metron Estates residents shared their flooding experiences and concerns during a public meeting Thursday hosted by the county at the Santa Rosa County Administrative Center.
Residents observed maps set up around the room of the affected area and asked county staff and engineering specialists questions regarding their neighborhood.
One resident said the water coming onto her property was “like somebody set off a fire hydrant.” Another resident said she is concerned no one will buy her home due to the flooding. Another said water comes out of the ground in his yard during heavy rain events.
According to the county, Pegasus Engineering has been retained to design drainage improvements for the Metron Estates area. A grant application for the project will be submitted to FEMA for funding consideration in August 2018.
David Hamstra, program manager with Pegasus, presented the residents with the project overview including a tight schedule and deadlines for specific aspects of the project.
Attendees learned specifics about the proposed improvements, including the extent of the retrofit activities, location of proposed stormwater pond, location of required drainage easements and project schedule.
The board of commissioners approved Pegasus’s proposal on March 15 and issued a notice to proceed to all subconsultants the same day. The remaining schedule is as follows:
April 23: preliminary subconsultant work products
May 31: submit 60 percent of construction plans
July 13: submit 90 percent construction plans and the Environmental Resource Permit application
Aug. 6: submit final construction plan and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program application to FEMA
Once funding arrives and the project begins, construction will start with School Lane and then go to Easter Street and Gregg Avenue. According to Hamstra, some residents will have to give the county easements between their homes to install underground piping.
Hamstra said the construction probably won’t start for approximately two years. Once FEMA receives the application, it could take them several months to review it due to the large amount of applications they have received from the multiple hurricanes in 2017.
A drainage pond will potentially be dug in the five-acre parcel of land in the middle of the neighborhood where Commissioner Sam Parker had proposed putting a park before he was aware of the flooding issues.
Hamstra urged residents to submit proof, in as much detail as possible, of any expenses incurred from flooding. Anything from pictures and videos to receipts from damage repairs, hotel stays or time missed from work residents can submit to FEMA.
Flooding issues have plagued Pace residents for more than two decades, a long-time resident said at the meeting. In July 2017, commissioners agreed to put forth funding to control these issues after more than a dozen Pace residents — including several Metron Estates homeowners — approached the board at a commission meeting.