‘I just want to be safe in my home’: Casselberry residents still dealing with Hurricane Ian damage

CASSELBERRY, Fla. — Hurricane Ian hit over a year ago, but for neighbors at the Summerloch Green, in Casselberry, it seems like it was yesterday.


“The water invaded my home, over two feet high,” said Dona DeMarco, who moved to the community just months before the storm. “I lost half of everything I have, more than $30,000 in damages.”

DeMarco is just one of the many residents dealing with the same problem.

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The community, where most neighbors are around 55 and older, was also heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma in 2017.

“I just want to be safe in my home,” said DeMarco. “I’m a single mom, with a daughter with special needs. We thankfully didn’t have any major storm last year but come this season we have no idea what it will be like. It’s scary”

Cindy Connors, who lives a few homes from DeMarco, shared pictures of the damage caused by Ian.

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“I was terrified,” said Connors. “You’re dealing with people who are in the last years of their lives, what money they have is all they have. It’s very sad. I’m afraid to go back and look at my home.”

Residents say they have asked for preventive work to be done in the area, including a wall near a nearby creek to stop or at least reduce the excessive flooding.

According to the city of Casselberry, a request for work was initially submitted back in 2020, by the property’s management company. The project was denied, with the city citing several issues with the plans.

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The management company submitted another request for approval in 2022, and it was allowed to start working on building a retaining wall.

The city says it is not conducting any kind of independent review on the project, and that the wall should prevent erosion, but may not stop flooding.

Channel 9 visited the management office at Summerloch Green. They told us “We are happy work has started, and we have no further comments.”

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