Concerns About Flooding in Downtown Waynesboro


WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) -- When it rains, some living in Waynesboro are concerned those downpours mean flooding in downtown.

Monday night, city leaders discussed a plan to spruce the place up a bit and fix the problems.

As the streets and sidewalks dry from Monday's rain, Jose Rodriguez, who lives in Waynesboro, remembers a time when the rain didn't stop.

"People had to be evacuated from their homes and placed in hotels and stuff like that," said Rodriguez.

He is referring to a storm that hit the area about 10 years ago and flooded downtown. He thinks it could happen again, "It's not a good feeling because you're always thinking, what if it floods, What am I going to do? Where am I going to go?"

Now the city plans to do something to try to prevent flooding.

A solution they're considering is the Brownfield Project, which uses money granted from the EPA to redevelop areas around the city. On Monday, members of the Waynesboro Planning Commission met outside to look and talk about a draft of the project. Members are looking to city council to match $20,000 of a $400,000 grant for a preliminary flood study.

Some solutions that may come from the study include widening the flood plain, constructing a setback levee and finding a way to redirect storm water.

"You have to either get out of the way to do something to prevent the flood and we haven't figured out how to prevent the flood yet," said Frank Lucente, a member of the Waynesboro City Council.

He thinks the options are a bit limited, "We can't dredge our river because it's contaminated with mercury from when the plants dump chemicals in the river," said Lucente.

Both Rodriguez and members of government think that having an improved flood plan would attract more businesses to downtown.

"There could be something there but there's not because of the flooding because they don't want their merchandise to go bad," said Rodriguez, although he hopes that it will never flood again, "I hope that they can come up with something that they can fix it and it will be better for the people that live around here," said Rodriguez.

There's no word yet on whether city council will match the grant.


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