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Drainage project delays frustrate flood-stricken Old Seminole Heights residents

8 On Your Side

The rainy season is here and for some Tampa neighborhoods that means, quite literally, a flood of problems. 

Some neighbors in Old Seminole Heights say they keep going to the city for help, but feel as if they’ve been left high and dry. 

When it rains, it pours…and on E. North Street, it floods out the neighborhood. Even after the rain moves out, the water sticks around and for years neighbors like Troy Byers have complained about it to the City of Tampa. 

“They were supposed to do something about it last year,” Byers said. “Hasn’t been done.” 

8 On Your Side’s Victoria Price went to the city for answers on behalf of the neighbors on E. North Street.

Jean Duncan, Director of Transportation and Stormwater Services, promised the flood alleviation project for E. North Street near 17th Avenue is in the pipeline. 

But as we found out, it’s not the only flooding project on the city’s books that is apparently taking a long time to get to. 

City records show the E. North Street drainage project is one of nearly 20 stormwater projects scheduled for 2018. Halfway into 2019, neighbors want to know why nothing has been built. 

The city tells 8 On Your Side it’s not a construction problem, but a communication problem. 

“I think their perception of delay is our lack of explaining the process,” Duncan said. 

Duncan explained the project is still in its design phase. 

So are at least four other projects scheduled in 2018, and another four set for 2017 according to the city’s most recent stormwater quarterly report. 

Duncan said it’s not unusual for design phases, even on small projects, to take up to 18 months and denied the notion that the city is putting the flood-stricken residents on the back burner. 

The city hopes to break ground on the E. North Street project by the end of summer and have it completed by the end of the year. 

Troy Byers doesn’t know if he’s buying it. 

“I like I said, we’ve heard it before,” he said. 

To view the city’s stormwater projects funded by a five year capital improvement plan, click here. 

To view the April 2019 stormwater quarterly report, click here. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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