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Rainfall reminds of need for drainage

Published February 8, 2006

SEMINOLE - For the most part, this city survived last Friday's torrential rain with only flooding.

But the rain served as a reminder of the importance of developing a second master drainage plan for Seminole, a project that has been on the drawing board since 2003 and is scheduled to get under way later this year.

The first step, said Mitch Bobowski, general services director, is to create a master plan for the whole city. Seminole has set aside $150,000 for that study and has applied to the Southwest Florida Water Management District for a grant to cover the remaining $150,000.

The timing of the study depends entirely on the district, commonly known as Swiftmud, Bobowski said. But once it's done, the result will be an analysis of drainage in the entire city, including the retention ponds and other drainage systems, and a priority list for the most needed fixes.

This will be the second master drainage plan for Seminole. Work on all projects listed in the first are finished, said Harry Kyne, Seminole director of administration.

Planning for the upcoming drainage improvements began in 2003 because of annexations. While Seminole was improving the areas in the old city, some of the annexed portions had drainage issues, Bobowski said.

Among those are Blossom Lake Drive, where a washout occurred last Friday around a catch basin on one end of the street. Also ripe for improvement is the area around Seminole Lake Country Club. Augusta Boulevard and Burning Tree Road flooded Friday.

The flooding, Bobowski said, was short-term. When the water in retention ponds began going down, water cleared from the streets.

"There are pockets of concern," Bobowski said. "But generally the systems are operating according to the way they are designed and built."

And, Bobowski said, Friday's downpour was "very unusual," with so much rain falling in such a short time.

Kyne said the city already has about $184,000 set aside for drainage improvements outside of any master plan. It's likely, he said, that at least some of that money will be used for the master plan once the priority list is determined.

Beyond that, city officials plan to set aside about $60,000 in each year's budget to make sure some drainage is improved each year until the entire master plan is complete.

[Last modified February 8, 2006, 01:15:22]

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