Rising water levels in recent years are pushing some in Foley out of their homes and businesses.
The City is putting up 1.5 million dollars of covid relief funds to hopefully change this, using American Rescue Plan dollars to make much needed storm drainage and infrastructure improvements across areas like Ashford Park, Magnolia Circle, Cedar Street, and County Road 12.
That’s where Christopher Tebo calls home, with the Bon Secour River bordering his backyard.
“When it rains a lot we can kind of see it come up in the backyard, and when it rains you can hear it from the house, you can hear the water rushing,” said Tebo.
We spoke with some of Tebo’s neighbors last year—when waist deep waters forced them out of their homes—some even having to be rescued by the Cajun Navy.
He says several of them have now moved away.
“Even from the past couple tropical storms we’ve had some water in the backyard, but it wasn’t as bad as our neighbors down the road, they’ve gotten 3-4 feet, and it got pretty bad. It can get pretty bad here,” said Tebo.
Foley Mayor Ralph Hellmich says many of these flooding issues have just come about in recent years—as unusual events became usual.
“It’s a constant battle. When you fix a problem upstream you have to fix it downstream. Over the past couple of years we’ve seen some abnormal events in the spring and of course Sally. I’ve lived here my whole life and Sally is unfortunately the kind of storm you’d never really seen before,” said Mayor Hellmich.
He’s hoping the multi-million-dollar Bon Secour Headwaters Wetlands Project—funded by the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund—will also help relieve some of these issues in addition to their ARP projects.
That project was put in motion before Sally hit last year, with construction underway right now.