BRADENTON – The issue of stormwater flooding in the Village of the Arts was brought up during public comments time at Wednesday’s Bradenton City Council meeting.
Kimberly Hoffman, resident and business owner of Charisma Cafe and Art in the Village, spoke to council members about the chronic flooding problems the Village has experienced "for the past 7 years." “On behalf of residents, gallery owners, and the restaurants in the Village, we need your help,” Hoffman said.
Photos of watery streets in the Village were brought in for council members to see. “I have to shut down during the summers (due to the flooding),” Hoffman said. “We can’t control nature, I understand that. But I would like to leave these pictures just so you have them for when the budget comes up.” She added that she “would love to (stay in the Village) for another seven years, but it is a hardship.”
Public Works Director Claude Tankersley acknowledged the problem to Hoffman and said he has talked to people in the past few years about the issue. “Our stormwater program is expensive and we have this project on our list,” he said.
He said that the preliminary design for the project is complete, that the city is “putting this as high as a priority as all the other stormwater projects,” and apologized to Hoffman that she hadn’t received the information he spoke of.
The major problems with the stormwater system in the area, Tankersly advised, are the small 10-inch drain pipe that carries the water, as well as the fact that the water is carried evenly to Wares Creek and Manatee River, both of which he said slow the draining process. He said that to fix the issue, the drain line will need to be replaced with an 18-inch one, and it will need to run solely to Wares Creek.
Though no definitive changes in regards to assessing the priority of the Village's flooding issues were made during the meeting, Councilman Patrick Roff did suggest that if the Village’s stormwater problems are forcing businesses to shut down in the Summer, “(This is) probably a priority that needs to be moved up.”
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