Leading into the weekend, I wanted to share with you and expand upon my comments from Tuesday’s City Council meeting about the actions the City is taking in response to last week’s terrible flooding.
This week, Council and staff have met with affected businesses and residents to gather information and hear concerns. In addition, the Council and staff members met with the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) on Tuesday morning to coordinate a collaborative effort to stop stormwater from damaging property.
We took a walking tour of several affected areas. We determined that the core problem was volume, precisely that parts of the stormwater system can’t move water quickly enough to keep up with such intense storms. While uncommon, such storms do happen and are happening even more often.
With SCDOT’s assistance, we are developing a plan of action for both the short-term and long. In the short term, we identified some remedial measures designed to move water out of our streets more quickly. Specifically, we plan to replace several aging drains and catch basins with newer ones with a higher capacity to drain and store stormwater, giving it more time to move through the system.
On Wednesday, the City submitted a detailed plan to SCDOT for review to implement these short-term fixes. They will help us finalize our costs and ensure the design is up to current design standards before issuing us an encroachment permit to work on their infrastructure. We intend to complete these improvements quickly and with minimal impact on traffic and storefront access. In conjunction with utilizing the utility fund reserves, we are contacting local, state, and federal resources on funding assistance options.
I want to thank all the members of our staff and the public who responded to the storm and worked to prevent further damage. As we start the weekend, we are monitoring guidance from the National Weather Service, and our teams stand ready again to respond in case another storm event occurs.
All of this is to say that we recognize that we have a problem and are moving to address it. I’ve spent most of my time in service to Hartsville working with our small business community. I, the rest of our City Council, and our staff members care deeply about the small businesses that make Hartsville the great place it is. Small businesses create economic activity that keeps Hartsville ticking, attracts visitors to our beautiful City, and help define the very character of Hartsville. We will never accept what might be minimal or adequate for some because Hartsville deserves more than that.
But making Hartsville better takes work, and it takes all of us to keep it going. I would encourage anyone affected by the flooding to contact me or their district City Council representative. We need your voices and ideas to join in partnership with us as we work to get the projects Hartsville needs. It is our duty to ensure that Hartsville stays exceptional among small towns in the southeast—to honor our residents that have championed Hartsville—to keep Hartsville a welcoming place for visitors and a vibrant town where people want to raise a family or retire—to continue to make Hartsville better than it has to be.