Water-Related News

Walker Road woes: Residents say park worsened flooding

LAKELAND — Joseph and Ashley Payne expected the house they bought in 2015 to be their “forever home.”

The house in northwest Lakeland sits on 3 acres, offering plenty of room for their five children to romp. Their youngest child was even born in the house.

Now, though, Joseph Payne said they are contemplating a move. The reason? In recent months, much of that 3-acre property has been covered with water.

“The other day we were at home and I told the kids, ‘Go out and play,’ and literally the only place they can play in our yard is on the septic tank,” Payne said. “That’s the only place they could go because the rest of it is just a mud pit.”

The Paynes’ property on Ollie Road borders Walker Road, a two-lane, north-south thoroughfare in a rural setting. Their home is directly west of Walker Road Park, a county facility that opened in April 2017.

Payne and residents of Walker Road complain that the creation of the park has worsened perennial flooding problems in the area. During one of the rainiest years on record in the Lakeland area, standing water has become commonplace in yards on the west side of the road.