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Federal funds slated to reduce East Orlando flooding risk

A person wades through floodwaters at an apartment complex in East Orlando in 2022, when 10-20 inches of rainfall from Hurricane Ian caused major flooding across Central Florida.
Courtesy Office of Congressman Darren Soto (FL–09)
A person wades through floodwaters at an apartment complex in East Orlando in 2022, when 10-20 inches of rainfall from Hurricane Ian caused major flooding across Central Florida.

Congressman Darren Soto is presenting the City of Orlando with a federal funding award of nearly $960,000 to reduce flood risk in East Orlando by updating stormwater infrastructure along Curry Ford Road in East Orlando.

After Hurricane Ian in 2022, areas near Curry Ford and Ventura flooded significantly; in some cases, parking lots were flooded 2-3 feet, Soto said.

“We saw that flooding firsthand, and we wanted to do something about it,” Soto said. “We worked on some FEMA relief, but overall, it's clear we needed a longer-term solution.”

Congressman Soto and his team visited Central Florida after Hurricane Ian, which brought record amounts of rainfall to Central Florida in late September 2022.
Courtesy Office of Congressman Darren Soto (FL–09)
While visiting Central Florida after Hurricane Ian, Congressman Soto and his team saw major flooding, including in East Orlando.

According to a project summary, the stormwater drainage systems along Curry Ford were developed back in the 1980s and 90s, based on design requirements that are now outdated. Today, that stormwater infrastructure is aging and undersized, especially given Central Florida’s larger population. This project will improve the infrastructure and help reduce flooding.

“Water infrastructure not only needs to be upgraded, but constantly maintained,” Soto said. “We’ve got a lot of water in Central Florida, particularly surface water, and hurricanes, as they're getting more intense, are stressing these systems out.”

RELATED: As new Central Florida homes are built, older ones flood

Last year was a new record for the most costly climate and weather disasters in a calendar year, with 28 such disasters in the U.S. each costing at least a billion dollars, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The city previously requested the nearly $960,000 in Community Project funds from the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations. After Soto presents the check to Orlando City Council Monday afternoon, paperwork for the allocation will be finalized over the next several months, he said.

The nearly $960,000 East Orlando/Semoran Blvd. Flood Control project will improve outdated stormwater infrastructure along Curry Ford Road.
Screengrab via Google Maps
The nearly $960,000 East Orlando/Semoran Blvd. Flood Control project will improve outdated stormwater infrastructure along Curry Ford Road.

Molly is an award-winning reporter with a background in video production and investigative journalism, focused on covering environmental issues for Central Florida Public Media.
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