“We don’t care if you die, we’re out of money.” This seems to be the message that Loxahatchee Groves is sending its residents. For the last five weeks, those of us who live on 161st Terrace North have often been unable to get down the road to get to work, to go to the doctors, to get groceries and to live a normal life. To understand this, you have to know that the only way to get out of our properties is to drive down 161st Terrace North. There is no other way out. The state of the road had become so bad that the minute the rains started five weeks ago, we were often stuck on our properties.
I have two cars, a Prius and a one-ton dual-wheel pickup truck. The puddles on the road are at such a depth that for two days, I could not safely get through them with my truck. It took six more days to be able to get through in my Prius. This scenario has repeated itself again, and again, and again over the last five weeks.
We have pictures of the UPS truck getting stuck in the first big puddle where a kindly neighbor pulled it out with a massive tractor. The UPS truck is not the only one. Three more people had to be pulled out last week, and a second UPS truck got stuck. In the meantime, goods and services have been deeply curtailed. Here are just a few: I could not get out even in my truck many days to go to work. My farrier could not get in to treat my horses, that affects his income. My stall cleaner could not get in to do stalls, that affects her income.
My next-door neighbor’s house cleaner and property manager could not get in to do their work, that affects their income. My neighbors are currently in New York and depend on these people to take care of their property and keep it secure while they are gone. This affects property security. I had scheduled work trips to Ocala, but could not go because my pet sitter could not get through the road. That affects her income, but also affects my clients in Ocala.
A neighbor to the north has his house for sale. That property has now devalued to zero. You can’t get to it, and if you could, would you buy it knowing you could not get out after it rained? We have had many days when the garbage trucks could not get through and the mail could not get through, so we are being denied essential services.
Now to health and safety. A neighbor to the south has congestive heart failure. Her son, in trying to visit her, was one of the cars that had to be pulled out by the tractor, with water running out of his car doors. If he cannot get to her, can the ambulance? What about fire-rescue? If the UPS truck cannot get through, can fire-rescue? My neighbor to the north has had numerous heart problems. Can his wife drive him out to safety if he starts having symptoms? The answer to all of these questions is no.
When we call the town they just say, “I am sorry, we don’t have the money, but maybe if we take the water control district’s money, we could help you.” Would that be before or after the ambulance could not get through? In the meantime, “Your work, your services, your health and safety? Well, we don’t really care if you die, you see, we are out of money.”
Deborah Marshall, Loxahatchee Groves