Orlo Vista residents learn about excavating project to prevent flooding

Around 75 people gathered in Orange County's Orlo Vista community on Tuesday to hear about a plan to prevent flooding in their neighborhoods.

"We’re committed from Orange County that it never happens again," said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.  He and the stormwater management crews answered questions from the crowd. 

The Orlo Vista Flood Mitigation project consists of making three shallow ponds deeper.  "Our contractor will be excavating those additional ponds down 10 additional feet, also installing new pump stations that will be able to pump the water down," said Mike Drozeck of the Orange County Storm Water Management Division.

The 15-month project has some residents concerned because it will take place during hurricane season. 

Flooding in Orlando's Orlovista neighborhood due to Ian. 

Lekeisha Chandler said, "I would like to see it more expeditiously." Neighbor Javier Cruz agreed, "I’m scared that whatever process they make, they might lose it all if we get flooded again." 

But county stormwater experts said they will have plenty of pumps set up to protect homes in the area from flooding again. 

"They’ll also set up additional pumps if needed to provide that level type of protection if a larger hurricane type of event occurs," Drozeck said.

"I’m still rebuilding at this point. So I don’t want to have to rebuild in the middle of another rebuild," Chandler said, adding that information signs about the project aren’t as concise as they need to be. "Better communication on how things are handled would be helpful."

Residents are also concerned about construction traffic and if the flow of water pumped into Shingle Creek will work. 

Mayor Demings said the project won’t cause more flooding in Seminole or Osceola counties. "The plan is to work with the South Florida Water Management District to ensure what we’re doing here does not cause harm else." 

The project will cost more than $23 million, according to county estimates. A webpage has been launched to keep residents updated.