Deluge in downtown Prattville

Merchants unhappy with large city trucks used in flood response

Posted by on May 7th, 2009 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Mike Winstead, owner of Marie's on Main, cleaning up after the morning flood - Photo by Melissa Parker

Mike Winstead, owner of Marie's on Main, cleaning up after the morning flood - Photo by Melissa Parker

Prattville – According to Rocky Milliman, director of the Autauga County Emergency Management Agency, the Prattville area received four and a half inches of rain in a little more than two hours this morning. The flood waters began to recede about 10:30 AM, however, several downtown merchants received some water damage from the torrential rains.

Mayor Jim Byard stated, “We had several reports of water in homes and businesses, as well as the evacuation of Candlestick Mobile Home Park. We also have a portion of US 82 closed due to a drainage way separation. ALDOT officials have determined that the road will be closed indefinitely while repairs are made. A detour uses Doster Industrial Parkway and Doster Road to US 31.”

Mike Winstead has owned Marie’s on Main for the past two years. In that period of time his business has been flooded three times, but he was thankful that this time resulted in the least amount of damage.

“I came out to head to MarChelle’s and saw a wall of water coming down Tichnor Street,” Winstead said. “There must have been a three-foot wall of water there!”

“MarChelle’s had about the same amount of water damage to the floors that I did,” He added.

Winstead continued by saying that he would have to wait until his floors dried out to completely access the damage and the owners of MarChelle’s would probably have to do likewise.

“The businesses were all helping each other. They were quick to help out with their mops and were handing out sandbags. I’m just thankful the rain stopped when it did. It was scary,” He exclaimed.

Sandbags stacked in front of Carol Brooks shop - Photo by Marc Parker

Sandbags stacked in front of Carol Brooks shop - Photo by Marc Parker

Stephen Brooks, of Carol Brooks Home & Holiday Shoppe, said that he and his wife, Carol, arrived at their shop at about 9:40 this morning and immediately put the sandbags out.

“As soon as it happened, though, a merchant brought us a wet/dry vac. Everyone was helping each other and there was a real sense of community,” Brooks said.

Brooks also commented that they will put the sandbags out again tonight as more rain is expected.

Both Mike Winstead and Stephen Brooks emphasized the sense of camaraderie among the merchants and the fact that the downtown community quickly came together to help one another.

Winstead also commented on the large City of Prattville trucks that drove by after the rains subsided.

“Due to the heavy weight of the trucks, water and mud was slung all up on the sidewalks and the storefronts. We had just finished cleaning up a bit when that happened,” said Winstead.

Brooks worked with Emergency Management in another state before coming to Prattville. He noted with concern that the usage of large trucks was never done in a flood area.

“There is also a drainage problem, because the water dumps into the creek behind the old slave quarters at Hunt’s Alley,” said Brooks.

When contacted about the city’s usage of trucks and the drainage problem, Mayor Byard replied, “I have not heard of complaints from business owners regarding city equipment, however I received complaints of vehicle traffic, basically sightseers, in the downtown business district, hence the directive to close all streets downtown this morning until the water receded.”

Article by Marc Parker

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