Next month, it will be a year since Salem experienced severe flooding one Tuesday morning, and the city and one neighborhood are still in constant dialogue about the state of the water situation.
Many streets were inundated, but Forrester Street took the brunt of the water. Cars, furnaces and hot water heaters were destroyed.
Tidal gates were installed earlier this year, but despite the City's efforts to keep the water at bay on the street, it keeps coming.
On July 24, 2012, a quick thunderstorm moved quickly through Salem, but Forrester Street was inundated.
And again, on Aug. 12, 2012, severe weather moved in and Forrester Street was flooded until the Department of Public Works came and cleared storm drains.
In an effort to work with the neighborhood, Ward 2 City Councilor
Michael Sosnowski and City Engineer Dave Knowlton met with residents at the Russian Orthodox Church on Aug. 27 in an effort to discuss the challenges the neighborhood faces.
Sosnowski filled us in on the meeting and told us "in spite of personal frustrations they [the residents] were all very calm and were trying to find reasonable answers to the problems" in an effort to improve a situation that has "gotten worse over the past few years."
Here are some key takeaway points from the meeting, according to Sosnowski, to give you a look at what life is like on this street when the water comes in and how dialogue is moving along:
- According to Sosnowski, approximately 40 people who are directly impacted when "serious rain events occur" were in attendance at the August meeting.
- Items lost by residents include replaceable items and some irreplaceable items like family photos.
- Sosnowski said Knowlton and other city employees talked about "physical improvements that have been made and those that are being contemplated. This included the intercepting of contributing drainage systems that all lead to the low point on Forrester Street."
- There was discussion about an alert system so that residents can get their vehicles out of harm's way during a water event. An early warning would be directed at those "historically hurt by these events," including residents on other streets like Jefferson Avenue, Sosnowski said. The councilor said the discussion about providing warning was focused on the entire city.
- Conversation also addressed resident parking on Forrester and Emerton streets "so that when residents have to move their vehicles out of harm’s way, there will be a place to put them," Sosnowski said. The councilor said a petition is in the works for this.
- Sosnowski also said long-range options were discussed, and while there are "hopes for more interceptors," the councilor said money is an issue in bringing certain flood mitigation equipment and options to the area.
- The councilor said there are plans to meet with the community again soon to discuss progress and flooding issues in the area.
Do you have repeated flooding in your neck of the woods? Be sure to share you experience in the comments.