The ditches in Rubonia were still flooded Friday as the remnants of Hurricane Hermine continued to beat down on the neighborhood.
Sandbags placed in front of homes before the storm arrived kept rain out of homes in the community, reported Morris Goff with the Rubonia Community Association.
Inside the Rubonia Community Center on Friday morning, Goff pointed to a house down the street where the sandbags stopped the water from coming into the house.
“If it wasn’t for sandbags, she would have water in her house and she’s had it before,” he said.
Before Manatee County public works crews left Thursday evening, they left about 30 sandbags out for residents to take in preparation. By Friday morning, the bags were all gone and the crews had returned to distribute more sandbags.
In Bradenton, similar flooding as a result from Hurricane Hermine hit the Samoset neighborhood. Yellow “high water” signs were placed on the streets near the ditches that were filled with water. In some areas, the water had spilled onto the street. Area residents have been expressing concerns about the neighborhood’s poor drainage before the storm.
Residents in Rubonia, which is tucked off U.S. 41 between Palmetto and Interstate 275, have been asking for sidewalks, improved drainage and other improvements for years. Those improvements became a step closer to reality last month when the county commission unanimously approved the Rubonia Neighborhood Action Plan, which is sent to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for review.
The action plan determined that Rubonia meets the state’s definition of a blighted area, which could mean that the neighborhood is eligible for federal Community Development Block Grants.
Rubonia had been deemed ineligible for the funds after residents’ lack of response to the 2010 census, as well as increased development of mobile home parks around the Rubonia area.
The flooding from Hurricane Hermine is “showing them” the need for improvements, Goff said.
“Hopefully the county sees it,” he said. “You just got to get it started.”
The rainy conditions caused a roof leak at the Rubonia Community Center, but the roof “held up” Thursday night, Goff said. The county was already planning to replace the roof as part of a second phase of renovations to the center. The county started work there in June, with plans to complete the project this fall.
When any major rain event comes through Rubonia, residents living from 72nd Street to McMullen Creek must make necessary preparations such as lifting furniture off the floor and placing couches on tables, Goff said.
“Can’t wait until the water is in the homes,” he said.
Water in Rubonia has nowhere to go, Goff noted.
“It’s a shame it has to be this way for community from the ’60s until now. All for manmade errors,” he said. “Too many homes have been lost in Rubonia because of flooding.”