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MOUNT HOLLY, NC (WBTV) - A business owner who lost everything during the August, 2011 flood is upset with the city of Mount Holly for not helping him and other business owners get back on their feet.
"It was devastating," said Roger Hawkins, who owns Hawkins Real Estate Group on W. Central Ave. in Mount Holly.
On August 5, 2011 Mount Holly received six inches of rain in less than an hour, flooding streets, homes, and businesses. On W. Central Ave., drains couldn't handle the water and overflowed. Later, piles of debris were removed from the drains, including large branches and rocks from the nearby railroad embankment.
Hawkins' real estate business was under water that filled the basement and destroyed most of the first floor.
According to Hawkins, the day after the flooding, the mayor and several other local leaders promised to stand behind him and help him out. He says that was the last he heard from them.
"I feel like they knew there was an issue here," said Hawkins, who said the city of Mount Holly has a history of flooding problems. He waited a year for financial help from the city, which hired an engineering firm to study drainage issues but hasn't taken the blame for the floods.
"A storm of that magnitude, nobody can plan for," said Mount Holly City Manager Danny Jackson.
Business owners in the area agree but think the city was part of the problem.
"It was the drain backup that made it so dangerous for us," said Gary Harrill, co-owner of Charlie's Drugs and Sundries, which also flooded last August.
Since the flood, the city has replaced several drainage structures and installed larger pipes to prevent another disaster. That isn't enough for Hawkins, who lost half a year of business and $100,000.
"We couldn't be more disappointed. I've been here my whole life," said Hawkins.
Hawkins has not filed a claim with the city and hasn't hired a lawyer yet. He says he doesn't want things to get ugly, but something has to be done.
"I don't want to cause a problem for the city, however, we don't know that we can ever recoup what we've lost here financially, because it was tremendous."
City engineer Lisa Hagood told WBTV she had just received the results from the study conducted by an outside engineering firm on possible improvements to the storm water system. Hagood said there is no simple solution, but the firm offered multiple options for the city to consider. Hagood will take the suggestions to city council to ask for money to make improvements.