AVON PARK – For at least 10 years, residents in Avon Park’s Southside have had to navigate accumulating rainwater on south Delaney Avenue and the solution was going to be the addition of another retention pond.
But, after a test on the existing drain showed it is functioning at capacity, the money that was going to be used for a new retention area can now be used to upgrade and improve the neighborhood.
On Aug. 7, Avon Park City Manager Julian Deleon, along with an Avon Park Fire Department fire truck and workers with the city’s public works department and streets divisions, went to the drain on south Delaney Avenue -- part of the Southside Community Block Grant Redevelopment Area -- and using the fire truck hose purposely flooded the system by pumping about 1,000 gallons of water into it.
The result was the current system processed and routed all the discharged water into the existing retention pond about 530 feet south on south Verona Avenue.
The test showed the system works. And unlike originally thought when engineering speculated the need for a retention pond, $140,000 in Community Development Block Grant money can now be used to cover more streetscaping improvements. Maria Sutherland, Avon Park Director of Administrative Services, said what needs to be done is to reconstruct the current drain below the pavement grade so the drain is at the lowest point on the road.
Now, she said, the grant money could instead be spent on “unmet needs” such as streetscaping north to Green Street.
Deleon said if a new retention pond needed to be built, it would have required cutting open the road and running 1,000 feet of drainage pipe.
“We wanted to test to determine how it connected to the primary drainage system. The end result was the inlet processed the voluminous amount of water that was emptied to ensure it worked correctly,” he said.
During a Feb. 5 Special Meeting of the Southside Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Advisory Board, the Citizens Advisory Task Force listened to a presentation by Avon Park’s Cool & Cobb Engineering Co. on options for improving drainage and lighting in the area.
During that meeting, the four-member task force focused on drainage concerns mostly around south Verona Avenue, the Southside Veterans Gardens at Tulane Drive and Verona Avenue.
They also discussed the flooding at the base of south Delaney Avenue and possibly making a retention pond on city-owned land due to its proximity to puddling. One of the concerns of residents was the possibility of having an unsightly retention pond in the area.
Now that the issue seems to have been resolved and the grant money can now be used for more visually-appealing uses, it is hoped work to beautify the neighborhood could become more expedient.
Gerald Snell, chairman of the Avon Park CRA Southside District, said Wednesday he was pleased to hear the grant money could be used for neighborhood structural improvements.
The Southside CRA district is basically the intersection of Green Street and Delaney Avenue, south to Fred Conner Street to the intersection of south Verona Avenue and Hal McRae Boulevard, then east to South Carolina Avenue and Hal McRae Boulevard. The area contains about 25 homes, two residential units/apartments and four to five business buildings along east Hal McRae.
Snell, a lifelong resident of the area who lives on Washington Street, said problem with flooding on Delaney Avenue has been ongoing for about 10 years. He said it was “great” Deleon went out to test the current drainage infrastructure’s capacity and capability.
“It now can keep running into the current pond. It gives us extra money for improvements. It frees up money to do beautification and security measures and also maybe install security cameras,” he said.