South Miami

South Miami

State budget gives $100,000 to South Miami to address flooding


Special to the Miami Herald

Fred Grandal, a resident of the Twin Lakes area, has faced flooding for long enough. Grandal, who moved to his home on 62nd Terrace in 2007, says he is one of several victims of rising sea levels that have caused flooding from the south end of the Ludlam and Broad canals.

But South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard says help is on the way to the tune of $100,000 from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

“We live right on the canals so I don’t know if it’s a design issue or things were done incorrectly or what,” Grandal said. “I’m not the engineer. But they need to kind of just figure out what’s going on so it doesn’t flood so much. If they need to redesign the drainage, then so be it. They need to come up with some kind of solution that makes sense so that my property value doesn’t get affected by flooding.”

City Manager Steven Alexander said the city made the request for funds in January and will also receive $50,000 for general maintenance and improvement issues at Fuchs Park as part of a park improvement project.

“The fiscal year for the state starts July 1, so I won’t be able to have this money until July for sure,” Alexander said. “I don’t think there will be any delay. It’s a substantial help to the city to have additional revenue for the flooding problem because the residents have issues to address.”

Stoddard said the first plan of action will be to put plans in place of how to allocate the new funds.

In April, Farmers Insurance filed nine lawsuits against nearly 200 Chicago-area communities, claiming the municipalities failed to prepare for severe rains and flooding by securing its drainage system.

“Now other insurance agencies have joined it,” Stoddard said. “They are suing because they said there is flooding happening and the government should have anticipated this because we have known climate change was coming and the government is liable for damages because they failed to anticipate or take remedial actions.”

Efforts to clean the drains in the canals proved ineffective. Stoddard said that one option would be a direct drainage connecting the street and canal.

Grandal said his lengthy communication with the city, detailing what Stoddard calls “marsh zero,” was always met with a proper response.

“The city has been very cooperative,” Grandal said. “I sent them emails. I sent videos to the public works department and the mayor. They have gone above and beyond to resolve the issue as far as they can without spending tons of money.”

After hearing Stoddard’s plan last November at his state of the city address, Grandal and his neighbors knew change was coming.

“When I explained this to the neighborhood at the address, and said we were going to start looking for money to fix it, they were ecstatic,” Stoddard said. “People were very pleased that we were looking to resolve this problem.”

Read more South Miami stories from the Miami Herald

  • Soapbox

    Letter: South Miami mayor is a mosquito-control novice

    It was reassuring to learn in Soapbox (Mosquito spraying can have negative consequences, Aug. 17) that South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, a professor of biology at Florida International University, has discovered what most residents of his city knew decades ago – that mosquitoes breed in standing water, including the contents of bromeliads. But it wasn’t reassuring to learn that Stoddard apparently now feels qualified to advise the rest of us about his belated discovery – and to impose on all his neighbors his own conclusions about the impact of mosquito spraying in this region. If Stoddard had lived here during the weeks after Hurricane Andrew, he might have acquired a greater understanding of how far the quality of human life can deteriorate in a former swamp when mosquito spraying is suspended even temporarily.

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    South Miami mayor: Spraying for mosquitoes can have negative consequences

    This rainy summer, my family was so vexed by mosquitoes that we could use neither our front porch nor back porch without turning on a fan and applying insect repellant. We embarked on a program to reduce the mosquito breeding in our yard and immediate neighborhood. We eliminated standing water in our yard, added mosquitofish to an abandoned swimming pool nearby, and removed ornamental bromeliads that collect water. Ten days later, we could sit outside again without the company of tiny buzzing vampires. I would be happy to assist any South Miami resident in the same program. In fact I have begun working with city staff on a citywide initiative to address stagnant water in derelict swimming pools, which can be detected from aerial imagery.

South Miami Middle Community School science teacher Suzanne Banas, center rear, with students including Kelsey Peeples, back row, third from right, and Daniel Crair, front and center.

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Miami Herald

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