Potential study may lead to solution to Gulfport flooding problems

Updated: Feb. 2, 2018 at 4:27 PM CST
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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - On Tuesday, the Gulfport City Council will consider a resolution to study the chronic flooding problems near 18th Street and Highway 49.

The prospect has some weary business owners optimistic about this big step toward progress.

Sand bags are ever present at Nicks Law Firm on Highway 49.

"We keep them on deck at all times," said Tamera Parker, the firm's intake specialist. "We have them at the front door and at the back door."

For years, the firm has been located central to an area that is prone to flooding, even in nominal storms. "The waters come up above the sidewalk and then as the big trucks come through, it pushes the water into the building," Parker said. "There was a situation where the waters came up so high until we had to wade to our cars."

Area businesses have long complained that the flooding may be caused ditches not being cleaned out and undeveloped landscaping.

An engineering project would include research that further investigates the issue. The resolution would award the firm Neel-Schaffer of Jackson to make environmental studies, field surveying, roadway and pedestrian designs and construction plans.

Temporary mitigation is necessary due to the long process.

"We really don't have a choice because this is prime location," Parker said. "We really want to be here. So we are willing to wait it out and just do what we need to do to make sure that the building is secure, our furniture is good and also our vehicles."

Stephen Holden, manager of Magnolia Printing and Signs First, said he's been lucky. "It's been very close a couple of times," he said. "It's kind of developed over the past few years to where it'll come up right to our front door."

"It's important," Holden said. "I'm sure it's a larger problem than we realize and that's probably why it's taken so long. I know they'll take care of it so the businesses will be protected from just the average rain storm."

The project would be funded 100 percent by the Mississippi Development Authority using Katrina Community Development Block Grant Funds.

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