JACKSONVILLE, Fla – An entire neighborhood in Oceanway is demanding change from the City of Jacksonville after Hurricane Irma flooded their streets and homes.
They say the lack of help from the city is putting them all at risk because it’s been an issue for years, yet they are not labeled a flood zone or an evacuation zone.
The majority of the flooding happened in the Oceanway Manor subdivision alone Moby Dick Drive South. Families are having to take the issue into their own hands as none of their drainage is working and only seems to be backed up with debris.
“I don’t know who else would do it, unless you’re a millionaire, if we were we wouldn’t be living back here,” said resident Brad Herrin.
Herrin has been taking the responsibility of cleaning out the drainage ditch upon himself, which seems to be doing anything but draining.
“It backflows from that ditch over there into this ditch and that’s what makes it rise,” said Herrin, whose home is still drying out from the floodwaters.
It wasn’t always this way. Most people say the recent developments built uphill surrounding their neighborhood now forces water to run downhill into their yards and home.
“Somebody has done something wrong there’s no doubt about it,” Herrin said.
Neighbors spent the last few days getting the community together for a neighborhood meeting with the goal of devising a plan to get answers from the city. Many of them have sent an email to the city’s attorneys and to Mayor Curry threatening an intent to sue Duval County “for its failure to provide and maintain adequate and/or proper drainage” to their properties.
When Irma hit the Oceanway neighborhood retained so much water several people had to be rescued by boat.
But the downhill slope, the lack of drainage and the expansion of a retention pond weren’t the only problems making it worse. Families say a massive wall built about a decade ago to separate their homes from this road has only caused headaches, flooding their yards every time it rains. Many portions of the wall are without any drainage system at all.
The Florida Department of Transportation says this wall is not their project so they referred First Coast News to the city for answers. The city says they are looking into the issue. Councilman Reggie Gaffney’s office says city council plans to discuss new sidewalks and drains for this area in the future. After First Coast News brought the issue to his attention Monday he decided to send his assistant to meet with the residents to try and get more details so they could work toward a solution together.