Odds high that Pelham neighborhood will flood again at some point

PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Penny Kakoliris hopes she’ll never have to go through what she’s experienced over the past week ever again.

Her home was flooded last Monday when heavy rains drenched much of Central Alabama.

She hopes she’ll never have to experience it ever again, but she knows those hopes aren’t realistic.

“We’ve been the last week tearing out walls, flooring and trying to dry everything out,” Kakoliris said.

Odds are high that her home will flood again.

“I think the city of Pelham needs to come out and evaluate the landscape,” she said. “We have a drainage ditch that’s at the side of our house that we’ve had engineers look at and say it’s not enough to drain the water that accumulates in the field next to you.”

But Pelham mayor Gary Waters told CBS42 the solution isn’t dredging the creek or widening the drainage ditch.

“It’s human nature when you have a calamity like that to want to blame somebody, but there’s really no one to blame in this case, because the condos were built there before there was anyone to say you couldn’t,” Mayor Waters said. “It’s not a drainage problem; it’s the fact that they are in a floodway now, and it’s gonna always flood.

The city has tried to get money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to buy back the houses and keep people from living in that neighborhood in the future, but so far FEMA has not approved the grant.

“My heart goes out to them. I wish I could make things better for them, but this is a systemic problem and a systemic failure ever since the Chandalar Condominiums were built,” Waters said.

The Kakoliris family is staying at a nearby hotel until their home is livable again.

Waters told CBS42 he will continue applying for grants from FEMA, but that they have been denied multiple times in the past.

Copyright 2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

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