ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM) — Those who live in Old Town Alexandria are no strangers to flooding; it happens quite frequently on King Street. Now, the city is creating a plan to reduce flooding and boost business, and business owners say the changes can’t come soon enough.
The streets of Old Town have seen many floods, and so has Chadwick’s restaurant owner Trea Lamond.
“It’s the worst. You see that it’s a gorgeous sunny day and we are completely empty because the street’s blocked off because there’s flooding coming up,” Lamond said.
Chadwick’s is located near King and Prince Streets. While Lamond has prime real estate next to the Potomac River, he said it is costing him customers.
“It typically doesnt come to the threshold, but when it closes down the unit block of prince street thats the way people find their way to us. When the street is blocked off and closed, it affects business,” Lamond said.
Sandbags serve as floodgates across store entrances. It’s routine for business owners here, and it’s a problem that dates back centuries.
“This is a fill area that was constructed back in the 1800’s that people created but it’s lower lying than our natural land so theyre not designed for the level of rain and flooding we’re seeing nowadays,” Terry Suehr, the director for the Department of Project Implementation at Alexandria said.
Now, the city is aiming to move forward with a new $100 million investment that aims to redesign and reconstruct the infrastructure.
“We will be raising the elevation along our waterfront to a six-foot elevation. If we raise the elevation along the river and then allow the water to come down. We’re creating a bathtub, so we have to put pump systems in place that will take the stormwater and bring it into the Potomac River,” Suehr said.
It will take a while until the upgrades are complete. Construction is expected to begin late 2024. Even though the renovations are still years away, Lamond says it’s well worth the wait. He says he appreciates the city for taking action to help these small, locally-owned businesses stay afloat.