Rain exposes flooding problems in Midtown

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DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM
A car tries to maneuver down Keech Street near Campbell Middle School.

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

Flooding issues were causing havoc in areas across Daytona Beach on Wednesday and the Black community seemed to suffer a heavy brunt of it. 

Intermittent rain over the past few days created such a problem that residents were complaining about street flooding and one resident said her car was almost ruined from the water. 

Part of the problem was a canal blockage. 

Late Wednesday afternoon, conditions had worsened near Campbell Middle School, the Caroline Village housing development and Garden Apartments. 

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Other streets in the area, including Keech, Carolina, South and Jean Streets as well as Orange Avenue, had flooded. The flooding also was impacting businesses along Orange Avenue as well as the police substation. 

Always a concern

Karen Martinez, who lives in Carolina Village, has experienced it before. 

She stood patiently waiting for the bus on Keech Street across from the intersection with Caroline Street near Campbell Middle School and the Caroline Village housing complex. 

On her way to pick up her granddaughter, Martinez had to stand almost in the middle of the street due to water covering the sidewalk where the bus stop was located. 

“I am always concerned about flooding any time a hurricane, thunderstorm or heavy rain comes,” she told the Daytona Times. 

Canal blockage 

By the end of the day, the area where Martinez had stood, was underwater. 

“It gets so bad sometimes that it floods inside my apartment. They said they fixed the sewers, but I don’t know what they did,’’ she said. 

The cause of flooding in the area between Nova Road, Bellevue, Orange Avenue and Caroline Street was attributed to the Nova Canal, which is the canal that runs along Nova Road.

City officials said that work crews were in the area working on a canal blockage. 

Overflowed onto street

City of Daytona Beach spokesperson Susan Cerbone said via email on Wednesday, “The Nova Canal is managed by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).  Earlier today a blockage – vegetation and debris – in the canal was identified in the area near Beville Road. A contractor, hired by FDOT, is clearing it out now. It will take about 4.5 hours to clear.” 

“The blockage coupled with heavy periods of rainfall caused the Nova Canal to overflow onto the Jean Street area earlier today. With the amount of rain tapering off and the obstruction being removed, the levels of the canal are expected to recede.”

Flooding also happened near Daytona State College, Madison Avenue, North Sttreet and nearby streets. 

‘Like a pool’ 

Tomekie Morrison lives between Mason Avenue and North Street. 

“This rain and flooding is just terrible. It seems to have come from nowhere. I can’t even go anywhere,” she related. 

Morrison also had a close call and almost lost her vehicle to flood damage.

“My car almost got stuck in the water. I was going to go to the Sunoco on Mason by the Seabreeze Bridge near the railroad tracks, but it was like a pool with so much water. So many cars were trying to get over the railroad tracks I just turned around,” expressed Morrison. 

Road project

City officials say there are some projects in the works that will help with flooding. 

The Martin Luther King Jr. road project from Orange Avenue to International Speedway Boulevard is one of them. Construction is ongoing between Magnolia Avenue and El Dorado Street. 

The $2.6-million-dollar project will completely resurface the road, improve utilities, improve and add decorative lighting, improve utility poles, fix water mains, redo underground pipes, and man holes. 

The city, along with the county and other municipalities, had pushed for the half-cent sales tax, which they said would have provided more than $42 million countywide for such projects, including $3.7 million per year for Daytona Beach and $74 million over a 20-year span. 

Initiative rejected

Voters rejected the measure in a special election in May. 

“The MLK streetscape addresses antiquated stormwater utilities and the Orange Avenue project did the same thing. Both projects expanded the capacity of the system,” Cerbone noted. 

“A few years ago, we upgraded the drainage system on South Street, which also directly benefits the Midtown area. If you recall, improving the drainage system in Midtown was a major component in our plan for the half-cent sales tax initiative,” she added. 

The area is also seeing records rainfall amounts due to a low-pressure system moving through east Central Florida, according to the National Weather Service located in Melbourne. 

It reported that Volusia County received around 3 inches of rainfall on Wednesday and 2 to 3 on Tuesday. Rain was expected to continue into Friday.

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