08/08/05 — Mount Olive moves forward on holding ponds plan

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Mount Olive moves forward on holding ponds plan

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 8, 2005 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Some residents and business owners say Mount Olive should create holding ponds to trap rainwater during sudden storms.

Some properties along Breazeale Avenue and downtown flooded last week when a heavy storm dumped more than four inches of rain in about an hour.

Rick Kraft operates a photography studio on James Street. He moved upstairs last year, but a dance studio expanded into the lower floor. The studio's new, hardwood laminated floor was damaged by the floodwater, Kraft said. He said his wife's pet-grooming studio next door also sustained damage. Cars sloshing through the high water created waves that made the problem worse, Kraft added.

He said the problem is a long-standing one.

"This has been going on 50 years," he said.

Moses King's grocery store on Breazeale Avenue was under water when the rain hit Friday. He said he has been talking to town officials about the possibility of building a retention pond that would help protect nearby properties from high water.

Kraft said officials should consider building a pond to hold water from the downtown area as well.

"They really do need a plan to help all the places in town that flood," he said.

Andy Greer said his bookstore next to Kraft's business dodged the bullet. The store flooded, too, and the carpet got wet, but he said the only damage was to a box of throw-away merchandise.

Center Street and other streets downtown flood, too. The water rose but did not come inside at the Mount Olive Pickle Co., a spokesman said.

Downtown business owners and pickle company personnel were out in the storm Friday making sure the storm drains stayed open.

The whole town flooded that day, Mount Olive Town Manager Ray McDonald said. The rain totaled 5.8 inches at the sewer plant.

"No system we can put in would handle that," he said. "Our engineer says we can handle up to four inches with holding ponds."

Even the area around the town's old post office downtown flooded for the first time in 20 years. He said once the ditches leading out of town back up, it's going to flood everywhere in town.

But he said until the town can install holding ponds, the system will hold only two inches of rain at one time.

The holding ponds will help, he said, and everybody wants one.

He said tonight the town is expected to close the deal on a land purchase behind Crest Drive and near the college for holding ponds.