City updated on flood issue

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Jerry Gehman said Monday during the city of Atmore’s council meeting that his visit to Washington, D.C. to make congressional representatives aware of the flooding issues around Greenland Road went well.

Gehman is the city’s representative on the National League of Cities. The NLC advocates on behalf of local governments for a variety of issues in order to protect municipal interest, seek federal funding to support local investments and ensure national attention is focused on the needs of municipalities across the country.

Gehman said he showed a Google Earth map of the flooding problem of Pine Barren Creek at Greenland Road in Escambia County, Fla., to Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions. The creek flows south out of Atmore and across the Alabama-Florida line into McDavid, and causes flooding issues when it rains.

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Gehman said the problem lies at the intersection of Greenland Road and the creek.

“It’ll take a lot of effort to get rid of the dam on Greenland Road,” Gehman said. “It takes money to do an engineering study.”

Gehman said he also showed the Google Earth map of Greenland Road to Rep. Bradley Byrne.

Gehman said Byrne is going to get right to work on the issue.

Gehman said Byrne recognizes the unfair appropriation by FEMA to designate the flood zones of west Escambia County, Ala.

“The data produced (on the flood zones) was not accurate,” Gehman said, adding that some homes that are in the flood zone are at a higher elevation than those that aren’t.

In addition to talking about the flooding problem, Gehman got the chance to ask Byrne about his views on Amtrak returning service to the Gulf Coast, which will help create a stop in Atmore.

Gehman said Byrne, who was against it at a town hall meeting some two weeks ago, is now in favor of the service.

“Rep. Byrne is in favor of Amtrak if it’s run fiscally responsible,” he said.

In order for the service to return, a couple of grants have to go through and an additional $5.5 million in appropriations need to be added, and it could be within 24 months of returning.

The deadline for the appropriations is March 18, and if Shelby — who is against the service —were to not say no and not block it, Gehman said it could take 36 months for residents to look forward to the train service to return.

In other business, the council:

• approved the second annual Easter Egg Hunt location at Houston Avery Park; and,

• approved reimbursing Gehman for his trip expenses.