Osceola County continues to consider what the next step will be for Good Samaritan Village in Kissimmee, a senior living community that, for the second time in 5 years, has experienced large-scale flooding due to the impact of a hurricane to nearby Shingle Creek.
The community was placed under a mandatory evacuation amid rising floodwaters after Hurricane Ian drenched the county with over 15 inches of rain, threatening the safety of its senior residents. That evacuation order is still in place as county leadership and the community’s owner decide how to move forward.
Osceola County Chairman Brandon Arrington spoke about the mandatory evacuation during a news conference, “We made this decision because for the safety of not only the residents but also our first responders who were responding and recovering people.”
Currently, the county is considering what to do next, including the possible use of eminent domain to purchase the property, for the safety of its residents, which County Manager Don Fisher mentioned in the county’s October 3rd Board of County Commissioners meeting, “There’s really a public detriment to allowing this recurrence, particularly a feeble part of our population to continue to have that exposure. I’ve talked to the county attorney and he’s looking into for anyone who rents a piece of property, should, one – there be a prominent notice that you are in a flood prone or floodway area, even to the point of evaluating Do we from a public service standpoint, an eminent domain to potentially look at the building – is that a significant enough issue… we’re looking into that as well.”
Good Samaritan’s website shows this message, “Unfortunately, our ability to allow residents to return to campus is contingent on Osceola County lifting their evacuation order.” The community’s website also states that flood water is contaminated and hazardous for human health. Flushing toilets, running showers, sinks or laundry may lead to a sewage backup in residential units.
On October 4th, Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez and Attorney General Ashley Moody visited Good Samaritan Village in Kissimmee to assess flood damage in the area caused by Hurricane Ian. “This is an example of how your sheriff’s deputies, the men and women who have been out here around the clock, were ready and were prepared. They also worked in tandem with the National Guard who was called out by Governor DeSantis,” Attorney General Ashley Moody said at Good Samaritan Village in Kissimmee.
” This is the worst we’ve seen. Last time it wasn’t this bad. I wouldn’t live here if they didn’t fix this,” Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez said when he visited the senior community with Attorney General Ashley Moody.
“Most people don’t realize that it’s built around Shingle Creek, and that section is a floodway. If someone tried to get a permit to build that facility, they would not be able to,” Osceola Commissioner Cheryl Grieb shared during the commissioners meeting. “These are the most vulnerable residents that we have.
Positively Osceola will continue to update this story as more information becomes available on what the county will consider as its next move for the safety of Good Sam residents.