JASMINE ESTATES (FOX 13) - A major flood relief project in Pasco County will get underway Thursday morning when crews begin tearing down homes in a flood-prone community.
The county bought three homes in the Holiday Hills neighborhood that sit on the edge of a retention pond. Commissioner Jack Mariano said the pond will be expanded so it can hold more water.
"This is another big step forward to actually take care of the flooding," Mariano said. "What it'll do is it just creates that much more capacity for the waters that actually come here before it has to release out to the other areas."
The first house that will be torn down is on Hyperion Drive. Two more houses next to it will go next. Mariano said he hopes the county purchases one or two more.
Crews have also been clearing out and, in some cases, replacing old pipes. The project is costing a total of $1.1 million.
"This is a way to work ahead of time to get the water out to protect the people so we don't expect them to flood again, anywhere near like they've done in the past," Mariano said.
Neighbors described the situation as dire at times.
"Oh it's miserable. It is miserable," said John Conaway, who's lived on Hyperion Drive for two decades. "Two years ago, with that storm there we were stuck in the house for three days, we couldn't get out."
"I got stuck in the middle of the street with four dogs in the car," added Jill Little, who lives across from the pond. "The water was up to the windows and I started screaming."
While Conaway is skeptical the problems will ever be fully solved, Little has hope.
"I'm hopeful. And I'm happy. I'll be glad when something happens," she said.