South Miami

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

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.”