At the most recent meeting of the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners, town leaders began to take concrete steps toward dealing with a serious issue of flooding along streets near C. Wayne Collier Elementary School.
A large number of trees that once stood on the property at the elementary school were removed not too long ago.
A recent rash of hurricanes and increased rain has turned the roads surrounding the school into frequent sites of flooding, posing both a traffic hazard for people driving there and a regular flooding headache for people with homes near the school.
“One inch of rain will puddle in those ditches,’’ Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner said of the situation. “If they have any amount of rain over a short period of time, there’s flooding.’’
Warner said the loss of the trees on the property at C. Wayne Collier is the heart of the problem.
When the trees were in place, the water running off from the property was absorbed by the roots of the trees and the ground.
Without the trees, the water runs off downhill, toward the ditches and the road in front of the school.
“We’ve had so much rain, it’s affected us more than it ever has before,’’ Warner said.
At the last commissioners meeting, town officials were joined by representatives of Cumberland County Schools, including CCS Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly. A representative of the North Carolina Department of Transportation was supposed to be at the meeting but was unable to attend.
Warner said Hope Mills town manager Melissa Adams is quickly working to convene a committee that will seek both a short-term solution for the flooding issue and a long-term fix as well.
Members of the committee will include someone from CCS and the DOT, along with town representatives, including Beth Brown, who is in charge of storm water, and Don Sisko, who heads the town’s public works department.
Warner said having representatives from all three groups will help make it easier to find a solution rapidly.
There is already a previous plan, drawn up in 2011, that could be modified to provide a solution to the flooding, Warner said. It needs to be explored to see if funding for dealing with the problem can come from DOT, the town of Hope Mills or the school system.
There will also be a question for funding ongoing expense if a retention pond and filtration system are placed on the school property, Warner said. “We’ll let the committee make some recommendations and bring them back to the board,’’ Warner said.