After the April 2014 flood, which devastated communities across the south end of the county and in the City of Gulf Breeze, 12 members of the Gulf Breeze community stepped up to help make the City of Gulf Breeze less vulnerable to flooding.
Soon after the rain deluge, which flooded several hundred homes in Gulf Breeze Proper, the City Council decided to start a Stormwater Task Force committee to help identify areas that needed flood relief projects.
Recently, the task force disbanded, but the work they accomplished will live on.
“These people came together, divided the community up into districts, analyzed the flooding that occurred where homes were flooded. The task of the committee was to make the city less vulnerable to the next flood,” said City Manager Edwin “Buz” Eddy at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “They put together an ambitious list of projects in which $2.8 million in projects have been completed and there’s another $2 million, some of which has been added to the city’s capital improvement plan. So there’s $2 million in projects to come.”
After approving the sunset of the task force earlier this month, the city council got together and purchased plaques to honor the 12 members of the task force, 4 of whom were in attendance at Tuesday’s city council meeting: Steve Jernigan, Lee Brown, Ed Gray and Bill Clark.
Gray was the first member to step up and take charge and was selected as the board’s chairman when the committee formed.
“The committee came together. It was architects, engineers, citizens with different expertise. Because we all know the next flood is coming. We just want to be less vulnerable,” Eddy said. “These are projects that require the assistance of surveyors, engineers. The Stormwater Task Force committee analyzed the information that came from these engineers and staff and formulated that into a series of projects, which, I think, will make the city less vulnerable to the next flood. We’re in deep debt to this.”
Mayor Matt Dannheisser echoed Eddy’s remarks by stating the city, and it’s citizens are grateful for the task force’s work over the past 2 1/2 years.
“The people who live here care so much about the community that they are willing to roll up their sleeves, get involved and make this (city) a better place,” Dannheisser said. “We have boards, task forces and committees that our residents are willing to get involved with. And quite frankly, without that, we would not be the community we are today. This is a group who’s contributions truly changed this community.”