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Residents hone skills to repair homes damaged by April floods

By Staff
LOOKING FOR HELP A.M. "Bubba" Martin, a leader of concerned residents, points to a map Thursday of the Eagle Pointe area, where damaging flooding occurred in April's heavy rains. He and neighbors are seeking help from local officials to better control water runoff. PHOTO BY ANNA WRIGHT / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Aug. 1, 2003
Terri McKelvaine has become an expert in home repairs everything from hanging sheet-rock to applying tile flooring.
But it's not a new hobby. McKelvaine and her husband have been forced to make about $20,000 in repairs to their two-story home in The Villas in the Eagle Pointe subdivision in north Lauderdale County because of flood damage their home sustained from two April floods.
The McKelvaine's are among residents in the upscale subdivision in north Lauderdale County who are seeking help after two April floods caused severe property damage to about 11 homes valued near $2.5 million.
None of the homes damaged in Eagle Pointe were covered by flood insurance and all were located in an area designated as a 500-year flood zone by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The group, part of the Eagle Pointe Homeowner's Association led by A.M. "Bubba" Martin, told Lauderdale County supervisors in a Thursday work session that they need help.
Martin used an hour-long presentation to outline what he believed caused the excessive flooding, such as rapid new development near Eagle Pointe subdivision, a small bridge at Grand Cypress Drive and a congested drainage canal downstream from the homes.
He suggested the county clean and widen the drainage canal, elevate and enlarge the bridge at Grand Cypress Drive and improve the drainage system upstream.
The problem began April 6, when 9.2 inches of rain fell on the area, forcing a nearby drainage canal over its banks. Weeks later, on April 24, another 8.65 inches of rain fell on the area again. This time during a six-hour period.
The result: One home valued at $229,080 in Eagle Pointe was completely destroyed and is now condemned after floodwaters cracked the foundation, and 11 homes were damaged by the flood.
Craig Hitt, president of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, said the flood problem in Eagle Pointe is "probably the biggest dollar-wise, but we've got problems like this all over the county."
Hitt said he plans on getting FEMA to do a county-wide study to evaluate what needs to be done.
Whatever happens, Martin said his neighbors need held. And, he said, he's worried it might happen again.
Martin said one of the problems is new development. He said in the past 15 years, 10 subdivisions have been developed in north Lauderdale County and about 300 new homes have been built.
He urged the supervisors not to approve any new subdivisions until they can determine how to prevent future flood problems.