$26 million project to fix flood problems in historic Midway community enters new phase

Residents in one historic part of Seminole County will soon see relief to persistent flooding.

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The county says a $ 26-million Midway Drainage Improvement Project will transform the stormwater system in the community.

County leaders say the design phase is about 90 percent complete, with the county now in the permitting and acquisition phase.

On Tuesday, the county is set to sign off on multiple easement purchases, meaning residents are agreeing to let the county build and maintain drain infrastructure on their property.

According to county leaders, the easements are needed to lay new pipes and upgrade existing infrastructure. The historic community was first established in the 1920s and resident have long advocated for improvements.

“A lot of the pipes are very small, if they’re there at all. A lot of the ditches are undersized, and they just don’t meet the standards we have today for storm drain infrastructure,” said Jeff Sloman, the project manager for Seminole County’s Midway Drainage Improvement project.

According to Sloman, aside from new pipes and drains, 6 retention ponds are planned for the community.

The project was born out of a 2018 study that residents like Emory Green fought for. The basin study helped the county identify specific flood prone areas and allowed residents to share their experiences and concerns.

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“It’s the first step towards a longer solve for the community,” said Green.

Green is the Executive Director of the Midway Coalition which has advocated for drainage improvements since 2018.

Green recalls how the community was inundated during Hurricane Ian but says even normal summer rain floods the streets and creates issues for the septic systems that manage waste.

“When your septic tank is inundated with water, it doesn’t work properly. So, you can’t flush your toilet, you can’t do anything,” said Green.

Green believes the drainage improvements are a necessary step, but says more work is needed to help address the adverse impacts of new developments which now encircle Midway.

He believes the developments have exacerbated flooding.

According to the county, construction could begin on the $26 million project by the end of the year, though that timeline is dependent on securing easements needed to transform the system.

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County leaders say a $10 million ARPA grant and a $7 million Resilient Florida Grant, are helping to finance the project. The rest is coming from Seminole County’s penny sales tax.

The county is hosting meetings next week to discuss easements with homeowners.

The meetings will be held at the Midway Community Center located at 2251 Jitway Ave., Sanford.

The schedule is as follows:

- Moday, May 13th from 6:00 pm to 8:00pm

-Wednesday, May 15th from 6:00pm to 8:00 pm

-Thursday, May 16th from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm

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