PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - It's your money and the City of Punta Gorda wants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep your streets above water. Flooding downtown has been a big problem for years.
City leaders say many of the drainage pipes that run underneath the city are decades old meaning when this area gets some of those heavy rainfalls, streets like this one, Durrance street, go underwater.
It's a site Mary Knowlton is all too farmiliar with: flooded roadways and front yards transformed into lakes.
"There's a lot of flooding in this area," Knowlton says.
She moved to Punta Gorda in 2000 and recalls storms like Hurricane Charley.
"That's an experience we'll always remember... we lost our roof and we lost a pool cage," she adds.
Leaders say afternoon showers will cause streets downtown to flood. It's why two years ago, FEMA funding helped build phase one of a 3 and a half million dollar flood mitigation project around the city. And come January 2014, they'll begin phase two.
"It entails installing larger drainage pipes in two different areas of the city, the old pipes are probably 50 to 100 years old, they're very small, deteriorating, and were going to install larger pipes to allow the water to get out to the harbor faster in the rainfall," says Mark Gering, City Engineer.
Gering says phase two costs about 1 point 6 million dollars. Money from city sales taxes will foot about 400-thousand dollars of the bill.
"It's a very low area so we have some challenges to keep it dry but that's what we're trying to do," he adds.
"It's seems like the project of a few years ago has helped somewhat which is great... you know that's mother nature, can't control her," Knowton laughs.
Leaders say residents can expect phase two to be done by July next year.