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Flooding on Jacksonville’s Westside raises questions about city’s response

Nearly 3 inches of rain fell over parts of the city on Monday night

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After heavy rains pelted Jacksonville and caused some flash flooding across part of the Westside on Monday night, many are questioning the city’s response.

Rafael Rodriquez said water came up to his Avondale home located next to Little Fishweir Creek. He said it was about 3 feet.

“There was not much we could do even with pumps and retaining walls,” said Rodriquez, who told News4Jax he was worried about it damaging his house.

Rodriquez’s next-door neighbor, Eduardo Santos, had the same concerns.

“It’s only been the last three or four months that the creek — even with a little rain brings it over the banks — and you get all sorts of water,” Santos said.

Both said they have contacted the city to try to get it to clear the creek and got this response: The city will get to it next year.

News4Jax has checked with city’s Department of Public Works to find out whether that is the case and was waiting for a response as of Tuesday afternoon.

Not far away is another problem near a shopping center off Roosevelt Boulevard. People like Jim Williams have been complaining about major flooding since retention ponds were covered and replaced with pipes.

“Where it used to be easily accessible is either closed off, and when you get (heavy rains), it’s flooded,” said Williams, who would like for the city to address it. “I guess they’re still working out kinks.”

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News4Jax on Tuesday did see JEA crews out working on lift stations, and there were other crews clearing sewer lines. News4Jax was told they became inundated with water from the rains and caused some backups.

Lynn York, who lives in the Lakeshore area, said she had never seen anything like what she saw Monday evening during a summer storm.

“It was like, flash, ‘Here I am.’ In a few seconds, my driveway and front yard just flooded. I drove to my daughter’s house around the corner here and literally stalled out my vehicle,” York said.

Nearly 3 inches of rain fell over parts of Jacksonville on Monday night.

The flooding issue is something that the Jacksonville City Council is working on. A resiliency committee has been meeting about the flooding problems and is scheduled to meet again on Wednesday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is also working with the city to buy up flood-prone property. The City Council is expected to approve a $5 million FEMA grant to purchase homes in the South Shores area of Jacksonville and return that property to a floodplain.


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