More water woes at O'Neal Road Apartments in Gulfport

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The manager of O'Neal Road Apartments in Gulfport is dealing with high water headaches. Flooding from heavy rains this week brought water inside two apartment buildings.  And this isn't the first time.

"O'Neal Road goes underwater. The ditch is completely underwater. The field out here is nothing but a big lake," said Maintenance Manager Donnie Smith, "And then it starts draining in between the buildings. And it looks like a river running through here."

The river has receded at O'Neal Road Apartments. But the flood water frustration level is still high.

"Looked like we had three to six days worth of rain, where across the street, it just looked like a normal rain," said apartment manager, Irene Smith.

Mother's Day was the last time the apartment complex flooded.  This time around the high water made it inside two apartments.

"It came over the threshold. There was probably one inch of water in each of the bedrooms," said Smith.

"It would be a great help if the city could come up with a solution for our problem here," said Judy Higgins, the senior property manager.

The flood waters recede quickly, but apartment managers say an overworked, undersized drainage ditch is the likely culprit which causes the water woes.

"This one here is real wide and deep. And there's the two drains from across the street over there. But if you'll look down the road going up on O'Neal Road, it gets narrower and less deep," said Higgins, pointing down the road.

WLOX News did a flooding story at this same apartment complex four years ago. That story concluded by saying the City of Gulfport was in the midst of a three part drainage project that should help. But clearly, whatever work was done back then, hasn't eliminated the problem.

"I'm totally convinced that the owner of this property will do whatever they have to do to comply and work with the city," said Donnie Smith, "It's just too much water, too fast. Can't go nowhere."

WLOX News contacted the City of Gulfport to ask about possible solutions to the flooding problem at O'Neal Road Apartments.

Public Information Officer Ryan LaFontaine responded saying, "Flooding at O'Neal Road Apartments is due to the elevation of some of the surrounding buildings. The city has plans--unfunded as of now--to improve the drainage from the apartments east to Fritz Creek. The cost is nearly one million dollars."

LaFontaine also said there are future plans to widen O'Neal Road, but that project is still several years away.

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