Mayor hands out flood survey in city door-to-door

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana and the city engineer-in-training headed out Tuesday night to more than 250 residences to begin to distribute flood-damage surveys late in a government survey process, but nevertheless with a few weeks to spare, a city official said.

The distribution of the surveys door-to-door is being done as a needed step to tabulate 10 year’s worth of flood damage caused by Grafius Run, according to Campana.

Campana and Mark Benner, the engineer designee, have assumed responsibility for getting more surveys to residents following City Council questioning recently why 10 percent of the amount of surveys available in this part of the city were distributed, according to Adam Winder, general manager of city streets and parks department.

The surveys are critical for the state Department of Environmental Protection to begin its own study on the best project to give residents long-term flood relief of Grafius Run.

During thunderstorms and heavy rain, the run floods at the access points where it goes beneath the ground after flowing at high volume from developments and properties north of the city in Loyalsock Township. The underground drainage system and culverts are so old they are collapsing at points, according to Jim Campbell, an engineer with Rettew Associates, which has studied the age-old problem.

Underground water during floods also floods basements and first-floors of residences that are nearby the channel, Campbell said.

Jason Fitzgerald, president of Penn Strategies Inc., the city economic development consultant, said he hoped to see a damage report totaling $5 million or more. The damage can go back a decade to 2008, he said.

Council leadership has given the administration a deadline of the end of November to distribute the surveys to about 280 residences.

At the last council meeting, it was determined only 33 surveys were filled and returned to Benner. That was the same amount of surveys that were distributed several weeks ago indicating either surveys were not put out or they were not filled out by residents, council said.

The survey distribution will be put off for tonight as it is Halloween, according to the city recreation schedule.

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