Orange County approves contract for Orlo Vista flood mitigation project

Orlo Vista, West Side Manor neighborhoods flooded after recent hurricanes

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Leaders in Orange County took another step Tuesday toward fixing flooding in the Orlo Vista and West Side Manor neighborhoods.

Commissioners unanimously approved a contract for the Orlo Vista Flood Mitigation Project Tuesday, weeks after the county said it asked for more money to cover construction costs.

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The bid, which was awarded to Thalle Construction Co., calls for digging existing stormwater ponds 10 feet deeper and installing a new pump station near Ronnie Circle.

The $23 million project was made possible after the county was able to secure funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Anthony Bell is one of dozens in Westside Manor who lost nearly everything after flooding from Hurricane Ian overwhelmed the neighborhood.

“I’m pretty much homeless,” Bell said.  “My truck was underwater.  I lost most of my clothes and all my furniture. I haven’t been able to stay at my house for two months.”

He said many in his neighborhood are frustrated after homes flooded in 2017 from Hurricane Irma and again in September from Hurricane Ian.

“This shouldn’t have even happened, so where are we supposed to believe that the county is going to start doing anything when no one was held accountable,” Bell said.

After Hurricane Ian brought floods that devastated homes in Orlo Vista, community members approached the Orange County commission about possible solutions.

Plans to improve the stormwater system were made after Hurricane Irma hit, but the county said construction costs exceeded the funding they secured.

Bell said he’s hopeful for the current plan but would also like to see accountability from the county.

“No one’s paying any price, but the people that live here,” Bell said.

Construction on the Orlo Vista Flood Mitigation Project is scheduled to begin early next year and a completion date is expected in 2024.

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About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.