CLEARWATER, Fla. — A dozen homes and a Clearwater school are getting a major fix, after years of Allen’s Creek eroding the ground right away from their properties.
A $1.5 million fix split between the city of Clearwater, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Pinellas County School District is helping to stop erosion along the banks of Allen’s Creek.
The creek is eroding the area so severely near Plumb Elementary School in Clearwater that it is close to compromising the structural integrity of the school's buildings and homes along the south and north banks.
Pam Wiegand and Steve Sigal have watched as the land behind their homes slowly gets gulped up by the creek. “It has been getting closer and closer to our fence,” Wiegand explained, “When you’re out here by the pool you could see the trees over time are getting lower and lower.”
Sigal has watched as his fence gets closer to the creek’s edge, but he is even more concerned about the school on the other side of the river. One of the buildings was only a few feet from the creek’s edge. “What happens if that falls you know?,” he asked, “We were really concerned as the years went by that it would continue to erode and you have kids all over the place here.”
Clint Herbic, the associate superintendent of operational services for Pinellas Co. Schools, explains the students and teachers are not in danger just yet, and it could be years before the erosion compromises the school.
“You can’t always predict the weather too. If we had a situation like they did in Houston, that would put danger into the mix. We wanted to get out way in front of it,” he explained.
Crews are already in action restoring the banks of Allen’s Creek. They’re adding large rock walls to stop the erosion along the creek banks. Moms Kristina Hanson and Kimberly Romano are happy to see it.
“The kids have PE out there so I think it’s important it’s safe and it gets fixed,” Hanson explained while walking her son home from school.
“I’m glad they’re working on this now. Let’s do all we can to keep the school above ground,” Romano added.
Construction in back of Plumb Elementary School along Allen’s Creek should take about a year.