Hurricane season is just ahead, and that could mean more flooding and impassible roads in the Santa Rosa Groves neighborhood that is currently seeking activation into the Indian Trail Improvement District.
While it’s too late for a permanent solution this year, ITID supervisors don’t intend to leave area residents waste deep in troubled waters. The supervisors agreed Wednesday, May 19 to instruct staff to reach out to suppliers and reserve a pump for use in the neighborhood, if needed.
“We want to be proactive… be part of the solution,” ITID President Betty Argue said. “We want to be able to step in, if necessary.”
Created in the 1970s, Santa Rosa Groves is made up of 99 lots ranging from five acres to 20 acres. The area, west of The Acreage and north of White Fences, has a long history of flooding problems. Its roads and swales have deteriorated, and the canals are overgrown.
Over the last two years, the area has been going through a process, known as “activation,” to get road and drainage services from ITID. On Wednesday night, the supervisors voted 5-0 to continue that process by accepting the proposed water control plan and instructing ITID Engineer Jay Foy to prepare an engineer’s report, which is the next step.
Once activated, the district plans to permanently install at least a $300,000 diesel pump to provide flood water protection for the neighborhood.
The “dream scenario,” however, is to create a $1 million pump station with an electric generator and backup, Argue said. That will only happen if enough grant money can be found, since Santa Rosa Groves residents will face an assessment for whatever is built. “I don’t think anyone wants to pay for a million-dollar pump station,” she said.
Along with the pump station, canals will have to be cleaned and expanded to meet existing permits, Foy said. If the activation process remains on track for completion in late summer, a pump could be in place by mid-2022.
Though flooding always is a concern going into Florida’s wet season, Carol Street is a year-round problem. “You can’t even get down it unless it’s been graded in the last 10 minutes,” Foy said.
Major improvements to the street will be the district’s top priority once activation is achieved, he said.
In other business:
• The supervisors heard that the district’s 2022 budget may need to be cut by as much as $1.3 million in order to keep assessment increases to less than $50. That would put the projected 2022 general fund budget at $12.5 million. Most of the savings would be achieved by freezing 10 positions, eight in Operations and two in Parks & Recreation, and reclassifying several others. “It’s a tough balancing act this year,” said Argue, adding that ITID staff is making every effort to minimize impact on residents.
• The supervisors heard a report from Cameron Snipes of the Kimley-Horn engineering firm about the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s planned paving project to improve the road leading to the shooting range off Seminole Pratt Whitney Road. He said if the money can be found, all the roads in the complex will be paved.
• Staff reported that every effort is being made to curb after-school vandalism in Sycamore Park at 4050 180th Avenue North. “It has gotten ridiculous,” Executive Director Burgess Hanson said.