State Bond Commission awards $5.14 million in funding to address Ox Brook flooding

May 12, 2017

Since 2005, state Rep. Jack Hennessy (D-Bridgeport) has championed efforts to rehabilitate an abandoned dam in Elton Rogers Park in Bridgeport’s North End. For years, the safety and welfare of the city’s residents has been jeopardized by the chronic flooding along the Ox Brook tributary.

But after the Connecticut State Bond Commission approved $5.14 million in funding May 12 to address the city’s flooding issues, efforts to rebuild the earthen dam are set to become a reality.

This flood control project is the first significant step toward ending flooding in the North End.

“The Bridgeport legislative delegation has worked tirelessly to bring this project to fruition. Together, we have worked to protect our citizens and the homes they have established in Bridgeport’s North End,” Hennessy said. “I especially want to thank state Sen. Marilyn Moore for her constant support to safeguard Bridgeport homeowners.”

Through this project, several thousand feet of piping and channel will be constructed to dramatically reduce the volume of flooding in and along Ox Brook in Bridgeport.

“Residents near Elton Rogers Park have been eagerly waiting for these upgrades that will alleviate their neighborhood’s flooding issues. I am glad I was able to work with my fellow Bridgeport legislators to secure state funds to rebuild the eroded dam so it can once again protect the surrounding homes from water overflow,” said state Sen. Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport).

Beginning in Elton Rogers Park, the brook runs across Main Street from the Brookside Shopping Center, and flows southwesterly toward the Rooster River.

“For too long, my district has had to bear the weight of this problem. Countless families have borne the financial burden and stress of repairing the damage caused by the chronic flooding for decades,” Hennessy said. “Not only will this project reduce the potential of a disastrous event, but it will help alleviate the turmoil residents have experienced.”

This flood control project stands to benefit more than 500 properties – both homeowners and local business owners – that are affected by the downstream flooding of the Ox Brook tributary.

"This investment in Bridgeport is an investment in our quality of life," said state Rep. Charlie Stallworth (D-Bridgeport). "Every time the skies open up, residents of the North End and Hooker area worry about rising waters. This infusion of state funding is a game-changer for our neighbors."

During a 100-year flood, an event that has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year, approximately 225 houses, associated garages and two commercial buildings would be flooded along the 2 miles of brook.

“As weather patterns continue to become more unpredictable, we are racing against the clock to prevent a catastrophic event from occurring,” Hennessy said. “Fixing this problem will give residents the reassurance they need to feel safe in their homes and community.”

Hennessy first sought funding for this project in 2005 after hearing residents’ plight. Residents have seen flood levels reach heights of 36 inches in their front yards. Others have had their land eroded by flooding waters, depleting their property values.

“With this money, Bridgeport’s North End can begin to move forward and rebuild,” Hennessy said.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is actively working with the city to facilitate this project.

In June 2012, $260,000 was bonded to finance design services to construct a dam for flood control purposes. With the design phase completed, the project now moves to the construction stage. The project is set to create 40 temporary jobs.

“We are hoping to break ground in spring 2018. The project’s start date, however, hinges upon securing the necessary permits to move construction forward and selecting a contractor,” Hennessy said.

“This critical funding is long overdue for residents of this North End neighborhood who have experienced flooding for years,” said Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim. “I want to thank Rep. Hennessy and Sen. Moore for their hard work and persistent effort to get this very important item on the state bonding agenda and I thank Gov. Malloy for coming to Bridgeport and seeing this problem firsthand to give him a strong sense that this item needed to be placed on the bond commission agenda. This is not only good for homeowners but will also significantly improve the environment. We look forward to seeing this work completed!”