For the second time in three months, a community area in Cambria designed for youthful fun, frolic and festivities has been submerged in floodwater.
Most recently, on March 19 and 20, the west side of the Lions Club’s Pinedorado Grounds filled with about a foot of muddy, gunky water, according to Lions President Jim Bevan. The rushing waters floated heavy benches from the grounds and inside buildings, he said.
“The flooding during this storm is the worst I’ve seen in my 11 years working on the grounds,” he wrote in an email that called on Lions to help clean up.
Volunteers have spent days mucking out and washing down buildings and equipment.
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They’ve thrown out many ruined items, including Pinedorado prizes, books donated to Friends of the Cambria Library and food stockpiled for the club and a food bank.
Rain runoff also drained into the patio, bathrooms and other areas of American Legion Post No. 432’s club and bar next door, in the back basement area of the Veterans Memorial Building at 1000 Main St.
Rain also drenched the Pinedorado Grounds on Jan. 2. Water backed up in the drainage area behind the buildings and next to the Highway 1 embankment, flooding two structures closest to the creek and leaving behind mud, goop and unpleasant memories of the 1995 flood that inundated all of West Village.
How it happened
Bevan said runoff apparently drains down from the hilltop Pine Knolls residential area across Main Street, the Veterans Memorial Building parking lot, a ditch in the Caltrans right of way between the grounds and Highway 1, and new drains that dump rainwater into the ditch.
Bevan said the ditch needs to be cleaned out “so the drainage actually drains out.”
Caltrans spokeswoman Susana Cruz said, “When we have major storms, like the last two recent ones, Santa Rosa Creek overfloods, and it makes it very difficult for the surrounding areas to dry up.”
A supervisor checked the ditch last week and found it full of water.
“Once the dry weather is here,” Cruz said, “Caltrans will be able to get a crew out there, and possibly some equipment, but until then, the area is not passable.”
In the same storm, parts of the Cambria Shell station and Main Street itself were covered with more than a foot of water, the first time that has happened since a flood-control project made major modifications to how the area drains during storms.
The flooding apparently was caused by a combination of steady rainfall, oversaturated soil, an overfilled creek and high tides.
Dave Flynn, deputy director of county Public Works, said Tuesday that maintenance crews are rechecking flood gates that let rain water flow away from West Village and keep tidal flow from coming in, and he will have staffers recheck the situation near the Pinedorado Grounds.
A three-phase flood-control project in Cambria meant to prevent a repeat of the 1995 flood included a bypass to let Santa Rosa Creek overflow get back to the streambed without going over Cambria Drive into West Village; new drainage systems to carry water from the hillsides above West Village underground and to the creek; and a pump station at the lowest-lying area of West Village, by the Shell station.
However, months after installation of a pad for the pump and pipes to carry away the water, the actual pump has still not arrived, with delivery not expected until later this spring.