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Council members vote to fund study addressing North Beach flooding

Posted: 5:22 PM, Sep 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-20 19:24:50-04

Flooding in North Beach is nothing new.

“It’s been like that for years,” said Nick Catalano.  “We’ve been complaining about it, but we’re still dealing with the same situation.”

Catalano runs Yo Philly Cheesesteaks, a popular North Beach lunch spot.  Last Saturday, flooding forced Yo Philly and other nearby businesses to close for the day.

“Just didn’t feel like it was worth opening up and having people try to drive through the water for a cheese steak,” said Catalano.

According to Catalano, the money he lost by closing during last week’s flooding would have covered the restaurant’s weekly payroll.

“For that one week, yes, that’s a significant amount to lose because of flooded streets,” said Catalano.

North Beach’s geography poses natural drainage issues.

“It’s in a bowl, so it floods and the waters stick around,” said,” said At-Large City Councilwoman Debbie Lindsey-Opel.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Lindsey-Opel and four other council members pledged $16,000 from their general fund accounts to a task force charged with studying beach erosion and drainage issues.

“This study is the first step in saying can we move this forward?” said Lindsey-Opel.   “Is there something we can do that brings a lot of opportunity together to make North Beach more viable to development?”

While Catalano appreciates the council’s effort, he wonders why it’s necessary.

“It’s definitely a nice gesture,” said Catalano.  “I’m not sure why they would have to do that, you would think the city would just take care of the issue.  It’s a city issue, it’s a city street.”

The resolution to move the money only passed a first reading this week.  It needs to pass another in order to become official.