May 17, 2013
Dear Bloomingdale residents,
I am writing to you to address the DC Water infrastructure project that is beginning in Bloomingdale. We all remember how difficult last summer was for many Bloomingdale families. Four major storms ripped through our city, each time unleashing serious flooding in Bloomingdale. Our neighbors suffered overland flooding in their basements, and in some cases, raw sewage backup. The toll of the damage, both physically and emotionally, was severe and widespread.
At each one of those storms my staff and I were out on the streets with you, passing out sandbags, helping neighbors, cleaning up debris, and holding our government agencies accountable for the delivery of critical services. I introduced and passed legislation designed to help homeowners who were flooded. Heeding my call, residents showed up at Council hearings and public meetings to let the needs of distressed residents be heard by those in a position to make changes. Our collective work led to the Flood Prevention Task Force and a comprehensive engineering plan to mitigate flooding. I am proud that we came together as a community and set in motion a series of events that have led us to the brink of a major infrastructure project that will address flooding in Ward 5.
A project of this magnitude will indeed impact the lives of many residents. I understand and sympathize with the concerns of those who will be affected by the tunnel construction. There is no way to address our historic flooding problems without disrupting our streets. Residents and business owners have already stepped up to the plate on behalf of their neighbors by shouldering the burden of mid-term surface water management projects that recently commenced.
Just as I worked with DC Water to find a solution for the flooding, I’ll insist that they do everything within their means to mitigate the effects of construction on residents’ quality of life. My staff and I are asking DC Water some of the same questions you’ve posed, and we will evaluate DC Water’s responses to the environmental assessment feedback you’ve given. Please be assured that I will hold DC Water accountable for the manner in which they conduct their work.
The residents living within Ward 5’s flooding zone need and deserve a remedy. This remedy is years overdue and cannot be further delayed. I ask that we all work together in a compassionate, fair, and reasonable manner moving forward. The strength of our community is dependent on us supporting each other.
Please continue to send me your comments and questions on this project.