‘What about us’: Residents on Richmond’s Southside ask for solution after widespread flooding

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)– Heavy rain and thunderstorms left several city streets flooded, including some familiar areas on the Southside.

Wednesday’s flooding on the city’s Southside turned roads into lakes. One person even tried to drive through the water on Maury Street yesterday, where two cars were already abandoned. One woman who was submerged in water, had to be pulled to safety on Bainbridge Avenue.

Many residents spent their day cleaning up trash and debris left on the streets from rain water. Few residents told 8news, flooding has been a problem for years.

Flood waters are a concern for area residents like Lisa Monroe. Monroe was surveying damage Thursday, at an apartment complex on Bainbridge Avenue.

“All the water runs from right to left so it all compounds right into that spot,” Monroe said.

But according to residents, this is nothing new.

Ralph Hodge has been a pastor at Second Baptist Church on Richmond’s Southside for almost two decades.

“It’s been a normal regular occurrence for Hull Street, Midlothian, Bainbridge and areas off of Jefferson Davis to flood,” Hodge said.

According to Hodge, one of his former church member’s was killed in flood waters back in 2004 during Hurricane Gaston.

“Anytime we think of flooding, that issue kind of touches some of our members,” Hodge said.

Like Hodge, some residents believe that black and brown communities on the Southside have been historically ignored. City councilman Michael Jones, who represents the 9th district, is calling on council members to make the Southside a priority.

“People may right off yesterday and say we got 4 inches in an hour. It doesn’t take that much to flood just behind the train tracks or different parts of the 9th district,” Jones said. “It’s not just a community center. It’s not just a park. We have to ensure that every neighborhood on the Southside has what they have in the Fan and Monument Avenue. We need passable, walkable streets, even when it rains.”

Jones told 8news, to combat the flooding issues in the 8th and 9th districts, it would take $330 million dollars. But, according to Jones, that plan has already been created. Jones hopes other city council members will consider using funds from the American Rescue Plan that has already been allocated to the city and is on the way.

In the meantime, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney along with the Department of Public Works and City Council, unveiled three new green alleys in the Forest view community. The green alleys will be used to curb flooding. This is just one solution to the stormwater infrastructure problem.

According to the city, there are a number of projects in the works in the 4th, 6th, 8th and 9th districts to help prevent flooding and rehabilitate existing stormwater infrastructure.

“When we implement technology such as these green alleys, we continue to work toward a healthier James River and a cleaner Richmond that will benefit all of our residents,” Stoney said.

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