The constant hum of pump and vacuum trucks filled Melrose Park and Melrose Manors in Fort Lauderdale where water still covers many roads. Meanwhile, people are trying to clean up and dry out.
“We had 6-8 inches on the inside of the house, and at this point we are trying to see what we can save,” said one resident, who has lived in Melrose Park for five years.
The city of Fort Lauderdale, with help from the governor’s office, has more than 30 crews sucking water out of the street and unloading it into retention ponds. It’s making a difference, but the progress is slow.
People are demanding more from city leaders to improve the storm water drainage system.
“Until the city can fix the storm drain problem, we have a storm drain on this side and on this side and both as soon as the rain started, even Saturday night before the storm hit, it was already backing up,” said one resident.
Mayor Dean Trantalis says he’s listening and plans to propose adding the two neighborhoods to a list of seven areas scheduled for drainage improvements as part of an already approved $200 million investment. The seven areas include Edgewood, Victoria Park, River Oaks, Dorsey Riverbend, Durrs, Progresso and Southeast Isles.Those areas were identified in a recent study as most prone to flooding.
“We owe it to the people to do the right thing, we need to move aggressively because people couldn’t get to work, couldn’t get to the doctors, damage to their property occurred," Trantalis said. "As a city we need to help our people and clearly this is an opportunity to do that."
It doesn’t help people dry out faster today, but it could help mitigate another nightmare flood in the future.
“We will improve the underground drain system, put pump systems in place so when water does come in it’s pushed out to places where it can drain the neighborhood,” Trantalis said.
If the city adds Melrose Park and Melrose Manors to the list, it will still be two years until any improvements will be made to the drainage system, and the cost is not yet known.