Both privately and publicly, Groundswell! and its swelling membership have worked with the mayor to enhance his sensitivity to an overwhelming problem not of his making, that is, securing Charleston at arm’s length from the rising waters of two major rivers and the Atlantic Ocean.
Since its inception last October, Groundswell! has challenged the city to adopt a two-pronged approach: First, find, fund and implement innovative ways to divert and drain away the flood waters that periodically engulf us; and second, establish an official City Hall flood office staffed with experts trained to help homeowners claw through FEMA red tape when applying for federal grants or pass BAR requirements when raising or otherwise flood-proofing their houses.
Despite the mayor’s welcome acknowledgment of our city’s ongoing watery crisis, Groundswell!’s two primary objectives are still to be achieved. Plans to protect the city from the next storm are only lightly sketched out, not at all on firm financial footing, and a fully-staffed flood office is but a mirage.
So pardonable pride notwithstanding, Groundswell! remains humbled by the enormity of the task ahead. The mayor has barely begun.