Stratford schedules two meetings to address South End flooding

STRATFORD — When it rains, it pours...and it floods the town’s South End.

The area’s frequent inundation during heavy showers and storms will be the subject of two upcoming community meetings.

The meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Birdseye Municipal Complex, 468 Birdseye St., and 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Baldwin Center, 1000 West Broad St.

“This is a problem that’s only grown worse over the last 15 years as the storms have intensified and (occurred) more frequently,” former Town Council member Stephanie Philips said. “It’s not just a little water in the basement, but whole neighborhoods that are closed from vehicle access.”

Philips asked the Town Council last month to look into ways that funds from the town’s American Rescue Plan Act windfall might be used to tackle the issue.

“We have a single goal to bring public attention and support and we push the administration to use some of the ARPA funds plus FEMA reimbursement to bring solutions,” Philips said.

Current 3rd District Town Council member Paul Tavaras said “millions” of dollars could be coming.

“This should be priority one to get that ball rolling,” he said.

Tavaras said he’s invited town officials to the meetings to hear from residents and share information.

At last month’s council meeting Mayor Laura Hoydick said the town could be in line for federal funds that could be used to help.

“As we progress through the American Rescue Plan grants, we do have the opportunity to use money for these issues,” she said, adding that Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s staff has also told town officials more infrastructure-related grants the town can apply for could be on the way.

Information about flood insurance will also be presented to residents, she said.

“It’s all throughout town,”Hoydick said. “I think about Orange Street every single time that it rains, because it’s very difficult. There’s benefits to living on the coast, but this is not one of them.”

Tavares said the flooding was serious and had been going on for decades. The situation is also likely to get worse over time, he said.

“Global warming is real. These flooding issues are going to become more frequent,” he said. “These folks being affected need relief. We want to hear solutions.”