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City of La Quinta still helping flood victims from September storm

Months after a devastating flood in the valley, many people are still cleaning up. Even worse, many are wondering if more rain Tuesday will mean more damage to their homes and businesses.

The major downpour two months ago that left damage especially in Thousand Palms and La Quinta remains fresh in people’s minds.

“Yeah, every time I see the clouds in the sky as I’m sure a lot of people,” said Tim Jonasson, Director of Public Works for City of La Quinta.

In September, we interviewed La Quinta Cove resident Ted Hammam, after his home flooded with more than 3 inches of water. In August of 2013, that same area flooded as well during a heavy storm that moved through the Coachella Valley.

“The whole house, even the closets,” Hammam said.

Residents blamed a flood protection dike at Avenida Carranza, that they claimed was poorly maintained by the city, for the flooding. CBS Local 2/KESQ spoke with city officials who at the time admitted they failed and implemented a temporary fix on the dike.

In the meantime, they would work on proposing a more permanent solution to reduce the impact of future storms to city council in October. Since then, Public Works Director Tim Jonasson says they had a study session with city council members, bringing back some preliminary ideas to fix the flood problems.

“The council asked us to investigate 4 areas in particular that were impacted by the September storms and we’re in the process of putting together a request for proposal for the consultants to do the design work, the preliminary design work for those areas,” said Public Works Director Tim Jonasson.

Those 4 areas include, lower La Quinta Cove, Calle Tampico, Eisenhower Drive and locations north of there, and two areas on Washington Street, one near Avenue 50 that flooded and also by Lake La Quinta Drive, according to Jonasson.

The plan, which includes better city drainage will not go before city council again until March.

“That’s when we do our capital projects, the council directs us which ones they’ll actually want to spend the money on,” Jonasson said, who added the project is expected to cost the city millions of dollars.

“These are not cheap projects by any means, we estimate $20 million dollars just in the storm drain improvements, so we have to take a look at it very closely before we spend that kind of money,” Jonasson said.

La Quinta city officials say they’ve spent $350,000 for cleanup efforts since September’s storm, fixing city storm drains, piping, and retention basins.

For residents affected by the storm still looking for help with flood damage, the City, the Coachella Valley Association of Governments and Ygrene Energy Fund are holding an assistance workshop on Thursday, December 4, 2014 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
It will be held at La Quinta Museum, 77-885 Avenida Montezuma, La Quinta, CA 92253. For more information, please call Nicole Hugh at 707-236-6611

In Thousand Palms, also hit hard during September’s storm, the county spent the last several weeks clearing out a retention pond at the corner of Varner Road and Rio del Sol of dirt and debris in case of more rain.

Also, along the I-10 near the Bob Hope exit, we caught Caltrans crew working on a retention basin, clearing it out of dirt and debris for better flood flow.

KESQ News Team

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