TARPON SPRINGS — Following their annual budget sessions last summer, Tarpon Springs city commissioners agreed to submit requests for state funding for certain projects, including a flood abatement system for the Sponge Docks.
According to Mayor Chris Alahouzos, the underground system, which includes a stormwater vault connected to a hydraulic pump, would help alleviate the historic district’s long-running flooding problems.
“We invested in check valves at the Docks, but that only helps when there’s a high tide,” the mayor said in August. “But if we have this vault, when it rains the water will go into the underground vault and be pumped back into the (Anclote) river.”
After noting the item was cut from last year’s state budget, Alahouzos said they’re “hoping it gets more support this year. We already have $100,000 earmarked for it … but we need the state’s help to finish it.”
During the board’s regular session Feb. 9, the mayor announced the city had submitted two applications for state funding, one for more than $724,000 for the Anclote River Dredge Project Extended Turning Basin and $1.7 million for the stormwater vault project.
“Rep. Chris Latvala and Sen. (Ed) Hooper are sponsoring both requests, and I’d like to thank them in public for their support and their love to Tarpon Springs,” Alahouzos said. Speaker of the House Rep. Chris Sprowls of Palm Harbor recommended he submit the applications.
After the meeting, the mayor praised the state lawmakers who’ve been assisting him with the funding requests.
“Both requests were sponsored by Rep. Chris Latvala and Sen. Ed Hooper and I’m very grateful to them for supporting both bills for the betterment of Tarpon Springs,” he said.
While he said it was “premature right now” when asked if he knew when they would learn if their requests had been approved, the mayor said he’ll “be watching their progress closely” while remaining in close contact with the legislators.
“It always helps when the speaker of the House is on your side,” Alahouzos said of Sprowls’ involvement.