By J.M. Copeland
For Hometown News
The Holly Hill City Commission is back to square one as it searches for solutions to flooding issues along Riverside Drive.
If the Jan. 15 meeting was any indication the commission won't easily reach a consensus.
Mike Hale, an engineer with Traffic Engineering, presented a PowerPoint of the flooding history of the area and possible solutions. A 1950s map of the area from Mason Avenue to Eighth Street showed where the state Department of Transportation designed the area for basins out to U.S. 1.
"They didn't account for any of those promotional businesses," Mr. Hale said.
"We can select any pond, we can go anywhere, we can put storm-water capacity in a lot of places," Mr. Hale said.
The initial plan, and the closest and easiest solution to the problem, was buying land for retention ponds. But that would have displaced 80 residents at Riverside Community trailer park. However, the plan was scrapped when the possibility of underground fuel tanks left over from a 1950s gas station came to light. The contract to purchase the land was canceled when the land owner refused to have the land tested for contamination.
The drainage area runs along Third Street and through the Marina Grande condominiums. Two additional towers are scheduled to begin construction in the next two years.
City Manager Jim McCroskey told commissioners they had three choices. They could "take no action, use eminent domain on the existing Third Street outfall line or find an alternate storm-water site and design engineering to meet St. Johns Water Management District rules and regulations."
Mr. Hale said a larger piece of property like the initial proposed site would be more efficient than multiple sites. Pointing out the elevation and water flow history, he said a site as close to the problem area would be the most economical.
"There are other methods to alleviate flooding on Riverside Drive," Commissioner Penny Currie said. "We just have to come up with one that won't cost the citizens a lot of money."