Winston-Salem business owners prepare for potential flooding ahead of heavy rain

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Get ready for a lot of rain. Now is the time to prepare and business owners that have ongoing issues with flooding trouble are taking action.

Tim Nolan and Blake Stewart own Fair Witness Fancy Drinks on Fourth Street. The owners are stocking up on supplies to create a barrier that will hopefully block water from getting inside the front entrance. Every time it rains more than half an inch, their patio floods.

“After already losing money this way we’re ending up having to spend to fix a problem that isn’t even on our land,” Nolan said.

Nolan and Stewart say they lost $28,000 in business because of standing water after last year’s rains.

“Blake and myself and then the landlords of this building and the building up the street are going to have to all foot the bill for all the work that gets done,” Nolan said. 

The city told them Norfolk-Southern Railroad owns the property where a new storm drain is needed.

Danielle Bull, owner of Bull’s Tavern just uphill from Fair Witness, also has a water problem. It puddles around the tavern’s front entrance because the storm drains can’t keep up. 

“It just can’t hold the amount of water coming through it,” Bull said.

The process to solve the issue could take months and has forced Stewart and Nolan to get creative about flooding. 

“For today I’m just going to be placing a board here in advance of that. We’re going to build a trapezoidal container,” Stewart said. “It has forced us to become better carpenters, better day-laborers. It has forced us to think outside the box and especially when we have such a small space, it doesn’t leave us a lot of room to store something we could move in and out.”

Nolan and Stewart tell FOX8 a local engineer is scheduled to come out and create a plan later this month. After that, the railroad company will have to approve it and the engineer will work with the city to connect water lines. The business owners will foot a portion of the bill which could cost around $25,000.

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