Local News

City seeks to address drainage problems

SEBRING - On Melady Avenue Wednesday, drivers slowed down as they came to a section of flooded road. "Every day it rains, it overflows," said resident Kohoka Haskins, who has either lived in the area or been familiar with it for several years. "It's been like this forever and they haven't done anything about it." It appears, however, that Sebring will be doing something about it. The Sebring City Council earlier this month approved spending $12,000 for improvements along the street. Kenneth Fields, director of public works, said his department has been looking at Melady and several other streets or areas of town that may need improvements.
The heavy rains this summer have shown which areas need improvements, Fields said. And in some cases, the drainage worked better than what he thought it would, he added. "We didn't get half the complaints last summer that we've gotten this summer," Fields said. Of the Melady Avenue situation, he said: "They're just in a low area." The drainage system there needs to be repaired and also cleaned of dirt and roots, he said. Although the flooding typically doesn't get high enough to go into homes, the road can cause problems, Fields said. "There's the danger of cars stalling out if they go too fast in the puddles." Haskins said she's been lucky because her Toyota is close to the ground. "I was lucky it didn't stall out," she said. She said she sometimes takes a side street to avoid the areas that get flooded. Fields believes work will begin in October. Another area where they city may do work is along Stenewahee Avenue where there's some street flooding. He said they have taken video inside some of the drainage pipes to see if blockages are present, he said. More video is needed, he said, adding that the project may be done within the next year. The problem is that street "drains very slowly" after heavy rains, he said. Rose Avenue is another street with problems, he said. It sits between two hills and the water naturally runs there, he said. Fields said the city is giving priority to the areas with the worst problems that can be fixed relatively easily. Some areas need much more complex solutions, he said. Fields said he tries to head off some of the problems. If he knows it's supposed to rain the next day, he said, he will send workers to clean the drains around the city that day. Residents also can help by not putting trash or refuse near a drain, he said. That refuse may end up in the drain and cause problems by clogging it, he said. jmeisel@highlandstoday.com (863) 386-5834