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Address drainage or face flooding

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Several weeks ago I submitted a letter here situating stormwater as a “gorilla” of a challenge. Let’s be crystal clear. Unaddressed stormwater infrastructure equals flooding. At the last City Council meeting, 50-60 citizens showed up expressing concern about what this council might do on a controversial rezoning. Although the rezoning petition was pulled (it’s now on a future meeting agenda), this many citizens attended, and from sitting on the dias for a decade, I can tell you this number showing up is noteworthy

Even though it was a specific rezoning petition prompting attendance from a diverse collection of citizens, the theme of urging this council to do the right thing on stormwater/flooding ran through most public comment. Still others wanted to speak, but allotted time ran out. The public input came from a financial consultant, land surveyor, medical professional, small business owner, teacher, several retired professionals, and a letter from Stan Riggs, arguably the most knowledgeable person anywhere about the water-based eastern North Carolina environment and its stormwater/flooding challenges. I didn’t know all of the citizens, but the ones I did know lived in various parts of the city, not just in neighborhoods around the rezoning in question.

I worked up close and personal for 10 years with a range of elected officials. Look out that most members of this new council might: (1) “care about” this issue in their flowery political talk but not actually put teeth into fixing it, (2) throw a relatively small amount of money and some seemingly long-range planning at it but without seriously addressing stormwater/flooding in a timely fashion, and (3) address it on the backs of those who suffer from flooding but don’t cause most of it.

Let’s be crystal clear. Unaddressed stormwater infrastructure equals flooding — and citizens get it.

Calvin Mercer

Greenville

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