Palmer Avenue residents see progress, hopeful for resolution

Palmer Avenue residents see progress, hopeful for resolution
JB Coxwell Contracting vehicles observed at the staging site on the corner of Fair Avenue and Palmer Terrace. A detour into the Ortega Park shopping center on Fair Avenue exists during the contracted work on site.

Residents of Palmer Avenue are one step closer to a resolution for their drainage issues during heavy rains. Local leaders stepped in to help with drainage issues plaguing the neighborhood, took action to team up and deliver solutions. Relief is now in sight and residents couldn’t be more pleased with the sight of construction vehicles and barricades.

For the McColskey’s, Flo and Craig, there is relief in knowing progress is being made. “I’m hoping this is the solution. I grew up here and I know there’s always going to be water, but I’m hoping that it [drainage and backflow valve] solves the issue,” shared Craig, while discussing the issue on site, Jan. 26. The pair was quick to call Resident News, as the newspaper has been following the story for over two years.

Back in December of 2020, District Councilwoman Randy DeFoor, State Representative Wyman Duggan, Public Works officials and the City’s Chief Engineering and Construction Manager, Bill Joyce, among others, met with Residents to suggest solutions and worked with homeowners to try and deliver answers. After standing water, and in some instances, water that rises to the back door of several homes, had become a daytime rainy day, episodic difficulty, Residents were seeking help from elected officials.

Along the rear of their properties, water was continually standing, even during light rains that had never caused as big of an issue. It seemed to be getting worse. The problem intensified after a drainage pond filled in during construction on the Ortega Park shopping center [Formerly Roosevelt Mall], appeared to cause a furtherance of problems.

For now, relief appears to be in sight, as contractors have begun to implement a special backflow, or ‘flex valve’, one that should help alleviate the standing water and improve drainage during intense seasonal rains. It is designed to prohibit other water sources from flowing back toward the Palmer Avenue properties.

Construction on the valve was in its beginning phases, having started Jan. 24, and is ongoing. The early rains and jetting of water during asphalt cutting and removal was necessary, both factors contributed to a damper on the early days of the work. Those that frequent the Fair Avenue entry point to Ortega Park, and its Publix anchored plaza, will have to find an alternative route during construction.

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