Clay County working on 2 projects to eliminate major storm damage issues

County buying up flood-prone properties along Black Creek & replacing county docks destroyed during Irma with stronger material

Clay County is working to eliminate major damage issues during catastrophic storms like what the county dealt with in 2017 following Hurricane Irma.

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Clay County is working to eliminate major damage issues during catastrophic storms like what the county dealt with in 2017 following Hurricane Irma.

The county is doing two primary things. One is buying up vulnerable properties along Black Creek in Middleburg that perpetually flood. The other is replacing county docks that were destroyed during Irma with a stronger material than the old wood that was used on the previous docks.

Along Black Creek, the county made offers to two dozen homes to purchase their properties with the intent of demolishing them and turning them into green space that would never have a structure on them again. Currently, the county has interest from nine land owners in the area. The federal program that provides the funds is slow and has taken a while. All of the money should be available by next May. Right now, some of the properties have already been purchased and taped off, while others are in the process.

“We’re coming in and we’re buying those homes out at fair market value and then essentially the homes will be destroyed and turned back into green space and nothing will be built there again,” said Clay County Emergency Management Director John Ward.

Black Creek has been known to historically flood during major storms, and many properties have adjusted by building their homes high and living on the second floor of properties.

“It gets pretty deep when the storm comes like hurricane season. Sometimes the rain can come up high like a foot deep,” said James Randolph, who has installed insulation on many properties in the area.

The other thing the county is doing is replacing docks. Docks all over the county from Middleburg to Green Cove Springs to Doctors Lake were severely damaged or destroyed during Irma.

The county has replaced several docks with a different type of wood that should hold up better during future storms.

“This is more of a composite board. That’s made to hold together in these types of environments when you get that type of wave action,” Ward said. “The wave action is what we really had issue with.”


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