Brunswick residents and city staff were busy Friday morning assessing damage and cleaning up following Hurricane Irma.
“We’ve made a lot of progress," said Rick Charnock, Brunswick’s assistant public works director on Friday. “City crews have cleared most of the streets and most are open except for those streets where Georgia Power crews are still working.”
College Park, which generally floods because of issues with its drainage system, was hit hard by storm surge and heavy rainfall.
“College Park was basically under water,” Charnock said.
City engineer Garrow Alberson said Friday that a project is underway to resolve that issue.
“We’re working on a large-scale engineering project to address the drainage problem there,” Alberson said. “That project is in the design phase right now.”
Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey would like a permanent solution to address the drainage problem in that neighborhood. Harvey said Friday Brunswick City Commissioner Vincent Williams is looking into a Federal Emergency Management Agency program that could assist with rebuilding the subdivision in another part of Brunswick.
“They keep having to rebuild after it floods in College Park,” Harvey said. “I feel so bad that they have to keep doing that. We can’t keep Band-Aiding the problem. I will address the College Park situation during our Oct. 4 meeting.”
Harvey said the old Perry School site at O Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard was one suggestion for a possible new location for the College Park subdivision.
The Urban Redevelopment Agency in April approved Clement & Company’s proposal to build an apartment complex on that site.
Mitchell Davenport, a principal with Clement & Company, has been waiting to hear back from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs regarding tax credits he could potentially receive to help finance the $11.5 million project.
According to Brunswick City Manager Jim Drumm, the city saw much more flooding with Hurricane Irma than with Hurricane Matthew last year.
“In addition to the College Park neighborhood, the south end of Brunswick also flooded,” Drumm said. “Homes located near King and Prince had water. Almost every house on Riverside Dr. had water in their homes, including (Brunswick Commissioner) Johnny Cason. Windsor Park had a lot of flooding. Some yards are still holding water and they are still dealing with sewer issues.”
As for how the storm impacted the Mansfield Street water and sewer project, which is finally nearing completion following ongoing delays, Alberson is hopeful there won’t be any significant delays caused by the storm.
“I plan to speak with him (contractor Joe Stone) today about when he expects work to start up again,” Alberson said.
The project, which has been delayed for more than two years by numerous contractor-related and infrastructure issues, was slated to be completed by the end of September.
The Sept. 20 City Commission meeting has been canceled. The next regularly scheduled meeting is set for Oct. 4.
“We don’t have anything pressing that we need to discuss and we’d rather have people focusing on what they need to do for the families and the cleanup of their homes,” Harvey said. “Our focus has been on getting out and assisting in the neighborhood.”
Harvey said FEMA was coming to town Friday to do an assessment. However, there is no word yet on where to apply for assistance.
Assistance through FEMA will become available once a federal declaration for individual assistance has been made.
Following Hurricane Matthew last year, the city of Brunswick and Glynn County commissioners held a town hall meeting to inform and encourage residents whose homes sustained damage from Hurricane Matthew to sign up for FEMA Assistance.
Drumm said that will likely be the case again this year.
Beatrice Solar, management analyst with the city of Brunswick said Friday Jay Wiggins, with the Glynn County Emergency Management Agency was still in the process of figuring out scheduling and logistics for when FEMA representatives will come to the area.