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Punta Gorda home flooded for several weeks draws response from Public Works

Charlotte County Flooding
Posted at 4:58 PM, Jun 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 06:01:41-04

PUNTA GORDA, Fla.  — On Tuesday, a homeowner in Punta Gorda said it's been more than seven weeks that his property has been underwater.

Charlotte County Public Works Direct John Elias has said 72 hours is the time frame that homeowners should wait patiently for flooding to drain out after a storm.

Dave Gilkison, says the impact of his property being flooded for months has robbed him of his retirement home.

“'Can’t do nothing, mosquitos, can't sit on your porch at night people walk their dogs through here probably get ate up by mosquitos,” said Gilkison.

The word, “cant” Gilkison said flows from the fact that his yard is now unrecognizable due to stagnant flooding.

“It's been 7 or 8 weeks like this now,” he said.

Early this month, I spoke with Charlotte county public works director John Elias about this before, when he told me only after three days should homeowners worry about drainage issues.

“What we try to tell people is wait 72 hours and if you still have significant water holding in your swale that might be indicative of a drainage problem but it's not always though,” said Elias.

Elias said the county’s drainage system operates at a slower pace on purpose.

Gilkison said three days turned into multiple weeks and finally, he told me, enough was enough.

“Nearly two months went by and didn't see or hear anything and finally reached out and got somebody out here yesterday from Public Works, and the county and couldn't really give me an answer,” said Gilkison.

On Tuesday, I pushed for that answer, sending emails and leaving messages for Elias to ask him why Gilkison's situation had not been resolved.

By the end of the day, Elias met me outside Gilkison's home where he said this was an issue that needs to be addressed.

“If you go right down there, 900 feet, that's the ocean. That's tidal so this is a tidally influenced swale. We clearly got some high spots here we are going to try and remove and I told the citizen that we will clear out this brush and get these high spots,” said Elias.

Elias said it could take three weeks for city workers to remove the blocked drain sites, but also plans to use a sort of vacuum to remove some of the water.

“We have machines that are vacuum pipe cleaners and we will come out here and the first thing we typically do is make sure all the pipes are working as efficiently as possible,” said Elias.

I spoke with Gilkison to ask him how he felt about the county’s response and he told me that he is just happy to know changes are actually on the way.