ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orlo Vista residents got a chance to confront Orange County leaders about plans to fix flooding in their community.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings apologized to those residents about the “insufficient pace” of making improvements.
Despite talks of going back to the drawing board, the plans in place before Hurricane Ian sent floodwaters into the neighborhood have not been scrapped. But leaders said there are a few complications ahead of any work happening to reduce flood risk.
“I would like to see the paperwork and what plans you all have for Orlo Vista and West Side Manor,” resident Levi Williams said.
She was joined by several of her neighbors who wanted answers about what’s being done to prevent another flood, after their homes went underwater for the second time in five years.
There’s a $10 million plan that was drafted after Hurricane Irma in 2017 to address flooding, which would expand three retention ponds in the Orlo Vista community.
“We have a project that contractor has been identified, put out for bids,” Public Works Director Joe Kunkel said.
But Kunkel said the county still needs additional funding to make it happen, and as it waits on an answer from the Federal Emergency Management Agency either way about those funds, the county says this plan would still be limited and it wouldn’t prevent the kinds of flood Orlo Vista saw during Ian.
“The project that we have would accommodate what we call 100-year storm event, which is 10.6 inches — we got a little over 13 inches with this storm,” he said.
Kunkel said if that FEMA funding comes through, construction could begin quickly, with the project finished sometime in 2024. But in the meantime, Demings has asked the county to look toward other solutions to further address the flooding threat.
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