09/05/06 — City officials say Goldsboro was ready for rising creek waters

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City officials say Goldsboro was ready for rising creek waters

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on September 5, 2006 1:49 PM

Nothing could have prevented the flooding that occurred at Stoney Creek Park, Barnyard Shopping Center and on some city streets Friday, officials said.

But City Manager Joe Huffman said local neighbors and business owners can always be more prepared.

When water levels at the park began rising in the middle of the morning Friday, it was no great shock to officials at City Hall, he added.

"A lot of people, when they saw all the media out there (at Barnyard Shopping Center) asked me, 'what's the big surprise?'" Huffman said today. "Certainly, the folks in that area know it floods."

It was also inherent, he added, that in a rain event, some neighbors, too, would experience flooding. Reports indicate that Goldsboro received more than six inches from Tropical Storm Ernesto.

At a city-sponsored meeting held Aug. 22, some residents in the Harris Street and Bunche Drive neighborhood voiced concern over flooding near their homes and about old trees, that if downed, could cause problems.

Huffman said when dealing with land developed in a flood zone, it is hard to keep water away after a major rain event.

"In some of those low-lying areas, things drain to there," he said. "Frankly, and I've talked to our engineers, I don't think there's a way to keep rain away from that area."

And while cutting down trees might prevent an abundance of debris, it only makes flooding worse, he added.

"Clear-cutting increases flooding," Huffman said.

Earlier today, the parking lots outside the shops at Barnyard and trails across Ash Street in Stoney Creek Park appeared back to normal -- albeit a little wet. With an eye on the future, Huffman said the city government prepared itself as much as possible, and urged those affected by Ernesto to do the same the next time a major rain event threatens Goldsboro.

"I really don't think there was anything else we could have done," he said. "No matter how much planning you do, there will always be situations you didn't expect. People should always try to be prepared. At my house, we have certain responsibilities. Everybody has got a different role. Whether it's bird flu or a hurricane -- any potential catastrophic event -- people should always prepare as much as possible."

And while the amount of rain caught officials a bit off guard, Friday's cleanup went off without a hitch, Huffman said.

"By fairly early on the morning of the storm, all of the streets we could clear had been cleared," he said. "Our crews did a great job."