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Flood-prone area to see relief in Palm City

Posted at 5:04 PM, Jul 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-31 19:07:00-04

As the Treasure Coast prepares for possible flooding from Emily, there are many flood-prone areas nervously watching the skies.
One spot, in particular, has been hurting local business. And it doesn't take a tropical storm to create problems.

"Saw the weather map this morning and was like, 'Where did this thing come from?'" said Dan Siciliano, owner of The Sub Shop in Palm City.

Siciliano and wife, Ellie, count on every sandwich to help their sub shop flourish.

But sometimes, flooding in their Mapp Road shopping plaza impacts their bottom line.

"When it floods, people can't come in," said Siciliano.

When it rains significantly, the parking lot fills up with so much water that it's difficult for customers to get in and park their cars. Luckily, the water doesn't make it inside the businesses.

WPTV first reported on the problem in June and August of 2016.

"You don't get nervous but you get mad, you can't get any business," said Siciliano. "Still gotta pay the rent and the bills."

Martin County officials said Mapp Road is one of many issues they are facing across the county.

"Throughout Martin County, there is a $500 million backlog of deferred maintenance projects -- things that we needed to address. But the funding has just not been there," said Martha Ann Kneiss, the communications coordinator for Martin County.

But relief is on the way.

Kneiss said the county just got the green light to move forward with drainage improvement on Monday, coincidentally the same day that Tropical Storm Emily formed on the west coast.

Crews will begin replacing pipes, shoring up ditches, re-paving the road and even adding bike lanes and new sidewalks for the Mapp Road improvement project. Construction should be complete by April 2018.

"Historically we've had some drainage issues on map road, due to failing infrastructure. The pipes, the structures underneath the road -- they're just crumbling," said Kneiss.

Businesses just hope the skies can provide some relief, too.

"They say it's still gonna come through, so we'll wait and see," said Siciliano.

Martin County is trying to get the money it needs to improve crumbling infrastructure. On August 29, voters will head to the polls for a chance to approve a one cent surtax.

The money would go toward infrastructure projects.