Officials assure Barnstable resident affected by flooding

A Cape Cod Times article written by Geoff Spillane on September 13, 2018 details plans made by the town of Barnstable to restore the Blish Point area that was heavily damaged by a March 2018 nor'easter. The town will use funding secured by members of the Cape Legislative delegation, including Representative Crocker. 

Officials assure Barnstable residents affected by flooding

BARNSTABLE — Homeowners affected by last winter’s damaging floods received a reassuring message this week from town officials and local politicians on Wednesday: They are working toward a solution and are here to help.

Nearly 30 residents of the Blish Point neighborhood near Barnstable Harbor attended a meeting at the Barnstable County complex for an update on efforts underway to mitigate storm-related flooding in the area.

The meeting was initiated by Barnstable Town Councilor John Flores, who represents the precinct where the flooding has occurred.

“The amount of work is extensive, and it won’t be a quick, easy or cheap fix,” said state Rep. Timothy Whelan, R-Brewster. “We’re making this a priority. Nobody should have to live with a concern that every time a northeast wind blows, their home will be flooded and they’ll be trapped on an island.”

It appears that members of the Cape and Islands delegation are putting state money where their mouth is.

State Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, who did not attend Wednesday’s meeting but had a representative there, has secured $1.3 million in the state’s environmental bond bill to study, design and construct methods for storm relief, while Whelan has secured $200,000 in the economic development bond bill for drainage repair and improvements in the area. Flores, a Republican, is running against Cyr in November’s election.

State Rep. William Crocker, R-Centerville, whose district doesn’t include the affected area, was able to get a $50,000 earmark in the state budget for restoration and sediment containment at Blish Point, according to Whelan.

Whelan explained to the audience some of the intricacies of getting the funding released and made available for the mitigation project.

He likened the bond bill appropriations to a spending limit on a credit card, saying there must be a lobbying effort — and a plan in place to address the flooding causes — to convince the governor to release, or spend, the authorized funds.

Barnstable Director of Public Works Daniel Santos gave a presentation highlighting the growth in development in the area over the past several decades. That growth combined with rising sea levels, storm surges and more frequent and intense precipitation events could be catalysts for the flooding problem, he said.

“This is not just happening in this neighborhood,” said Santos. “The entire town of Barnstable coastline is affected by flooding, and, with the exception of Sandy Neck, these are residential areas.”

Work is already underway to remedy the situation, said Santos. The town has already cleaned and inspected all drainage basins in the area, inspected the Maraspin Creek culvert — a possible water flow “choke point” — on Commerce Road and evaluated drainage system capacity in the area.

The town also has engaged the Woods Hole Group, a Falmouth-based environmental consulting organization, to study the creek and culvert to evaluate alternatives — including a culvert replacement, raised road or berm installation — to alleviate flooding in the area.

The study, which cost nearly $35,000, is expected to be completed within 90 days.

“I thought it (the meeting) was excellent and it answered so many of my questions,” said Miriam Kronish, a Commerce Road resident. “I just hope a solution doesn’t take years.”

“We are not waiting, we’re moving forward,” Barnstable Town Manager Mark Ells said about the flood mitigation plan. “We are here for your safety and to help you protect personal property.”

Read the article here.