Gulfport seeking help from homeowners to ease flooding headaches

Gulfport seeking help from homeowners to ease flooding headaches

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - More than 300 homes and apartments and 30 businesses in Gulfport took on more than 11.5 inches of rain water during April flash flooding.

Now, the city is targeting ditches in neighborhoods that are prone to flooding. Crews are working to scoop out dirt and debris along a clogged ditch near the intersection of O'Neal and Three Rivers roads.

"In the wake of that flash flooding, city crews will clean out ditches, focusing on wards five, six and seven," said Gulfport Public Works Director Wayne Miller. "We've re-prioritized some of the projects that we have them doing so we can hit some of the harder hit areas from the April 28 rain, and try to get some of these ditches cleaned to improve drainage."

Because some of the drainage easements are located behind private homes, the city is going door-to-door asking homeowners to sign right of entry forms. The agreement gives public works crews temporary access to the property.

"We have received some of those back by the residents, signed. They're very willing and excited that we're going to be able to come in and start cleaning some of the drainage out that we have not been able to recently," said Miller. "The right of entry requires us to make sure that the property is back to the same or better condition."

James Sumner, who lives off of O'Neal Road, wonders why the city has taken so long to address the problem.

"I would think it's a good thing. This is April, May, June - two months later - it could have been done sooner maybe," said Sumner.

Miller says the project will bring flooding relief to frustrated homeowners, but he needs cooperation.

"If we knock on your door with a right of entry form, please let us tell you what we're trying to do. We do not want to damage your property. We want to get in, we want to improve the drainage and with the help of the citizens, we can make that happen," noted Miller.

The city is also working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clean out and reduce erosion in Flat Branch Creek and Qubbie Creek. The waterways are located in areas that tend to flood.

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