JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In Jacksonville, there’s debate over millions of dollars of money spent for flood protection and where that money came from — did it work and was it worth it?
Hogans Creek is a neighborhood that dealt with torrential flooding during Hurricane Ian. When residents get a rush of water from high tides and heavy rains, it has nowhere to go but over the banks.
That’s what we saw during the storm and even days after — and it’s something residents say needs to be addressed.
“They need to fix it, that is what they need to do,” said one resident, who spoke on a condition of anonymity. “It’s a mess up here.”
It’s one neighborhood that the city has slated for improvements, eventually trying to return parts of Hogans Creek to its natural state.
Around McCoys Creek, you’ll notice a big difference. The area is notorious for flooding, but the city is working to return it to its natural state. McCoys Creek Boulevard was taken out so that the water can spread out.
There’s still more work to be done, but residents there believe it’s going to work.
Arleatha Hernandez lives across from the creek and has watched her neighborhood flood for years, but not now.
“At least we won’t be underwater because I used to go and park my car, I had to find a place to park the car when it rains, you know, park all around the back wall,” Hernandez explained.
The city has budgeted millions for the entire McCoy’s Creek project. It says more than $8 million has been spent on the design and construction of the restoration project. An additional $23.5 million is reserved for channel restoration and widening of the flood plain between Leland Street and I-95 — and construction is scheduled to begin in November.
The finished product is planned to become part of the Emerald Trail, which is a public-private partnership that will ultimately connect 14 historic urban neighborhoods.
Mayor Lenny Curry’s office has listed other project it says have been designed to deal with flooding, including bulkhead replacement work along the Riverwalk, and cleanup/maintenance around the ditches.
There has also been maintenance on storm pump stations in San Marco -- and there are plans for a new pump on the Northside.