A section of a Pensacola street will closed in order to accommodate an expanded stormwater pond, city officials said last week after announcing the receipt of additional FEMA dollars for the project.
Fisher Street is set to be closed between 11th and 12th Avenues to allow for the expansion of the existing stormwater pond on the south side of Fisher. The pond will be extended north into the footprint currently occupied by four houses which the city plans to acquire.
City officials said the pond currently overflows during a 25-year rain event. The four properties on the north side of Fisher Street that the city will purchase suffered flood damage in 2004, 2012, and 2014. About twenty residential structures are located within the 25-year flood area, officials said, including a multi-family low-income housing complex.
Mayor Ashton Hayward’s office applied for the FEMA dollars after the April 2014 rain event that caused significant damage throughout the city.
“This latest grant award is fantastic news for city residents, particularly those around Fisher Street and 12th Avenue who were impacted by the 2014 flood and who have waited patiently for news that something would be done to minimize the risk of future flooding,” said Hayward. “Citizens consistently rank stormwater infrastructure as a top priority and we have responded with a full-court press to secure funding for projects far above what we collect in stormwater utility fees.”
Some area residents have questioned why city officials didn’t instead purchase a lot within the same block as the existing pond, currently occupied by Zayszly Artz. City spokesman Vernon Stewart said ARCADIS, a consultant for the city, did make contact with the property owner in 2014, but couldn’t secure an agreement to sell.
With the most recent award, the City of Pensacola has received a total of $2.612 million from FEMA’s Hazardous Mitigation Grant Program in connections with heavy rains and flooding in April 2014.
“In the last three years, we have committed almost $21.8 million to expand and enhance our stormwater infrastructure,” Hayward added. “This latest award will allow us to complete a project that has been a top priority for years.”