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LA-MSID: Structures withstood storm despite flooding

September 15, 2017
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District's structures held during Hurricane Irma, with flooding reported along the district's borders, according to officials.

LA-MSID board chair Mike Welch reported Friday that engineers are checking the system.

"We were well prepared," he said, calling it the 100-year storm. "Our structures held up well, but flooding occurred at the border with Lee County."

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Mike Welch

He explained that adjacent structures, like weirs, did not hold up in certain areas.

"They flowed into ours," Welch said.

The recent damage by ATV use on district lands was apparent during the post-storm examination, according to officials. One dike was so worn down by ATV use that water was flowing over it.

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"We've taken care of that," he said.

Welch noted that canals levels took a day or two to begin dropping.

"Lehigh Acres, basically, drained out the way it was supposed to," he said.

The former Admiral Lehigh golf course, located near the Able Canal, turned into a "big lake" due to the amount of rainfall, according to Welch. However, it began to drain about two days after the storm.

"So the system worked very very well," he said.

Welch commended the district's employees for stepping up to the plate.

"The district is doing fabulously," he said.

Currently, the district is working with The Salvation Army and other agencies to bring food, water and supplies into Lehigh for distribution. Due to the lack of power, residents' food are beginning to spoil.

"We're dealing with a population out here, as you know, that are poor and working poor," Welch said. "The groceries rotting away in their refrigerators are all they have."

Residents are also dealing with a lack of garbage pickup.

"We have asked for a plan from the Lee County government for the picking up of rotting garbage - people had to clear out their refrigerators," he said. "I've asked them to set up garbage collection sites around Lehigh Acres for people to drop off their garbage."

Currently, garbage is ending up in commercial dumpsters and vacant lots.

The Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District was scheduled to hold its next monthly meeting on Sept. 18 at the LA-MSID, at 601 East County Lane. The meeting has been canceled.

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