Hidden Village Apartment Complex Floods, Traps Residents

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Yvette Quinn said she woke up at 6:30 a.m. to a man yelling on top of his car.

Overnight rain in Gainesville left him stranded in the middle of flood water that was blocking the only way in and out of Hidden Village Apartments.

But Quinn, a Navy veteran and resident of Hidden Village, said she wasn’t just worried about students being stranded by the flood, but about the alligators that might swim up to them. Four live nearby, she said.

That’s why Quinn has been giving people with trucks $1 each time they give a student a ride to the other side of the road so he or she can get to class.

“I’ve been out here all morning paying every truck that goes by to take students in and out,” she said.

Two retention ponds are on either side of the road into Hidden Village Apartments, and maintenance staff set up a pump to start to drain the water off the road. The property is owned by Collier Companies.

“We’ve owned the property for 10 years and it’s a low area that has received water before,” said Andy Hogshead, Collier Companies CEO. “But never anything like this in the last 10 years, so we are doing everything we can to correct it.”

Residents, however, said the property often floods when there is heavy rain.

Raeca Castillo wasn’t able to get a ride into the apartment complex. She had to roll up her pants and change into sandals to make it to class and back.

“It’s not the first time, it happened two weeks ago. It was better than now and the people in the office always tried to fix it, but this time it’s not happening,” Castillo said.

Castillo is in her first year at the University of Florida and moved into Hidden Village Apartments in June.

The maintenance staff said they expect the road to be cleared in a day and a half if the rain stops. Aside from the pump, Hogshead said they didn’t have other options for relieving the water.

“These would be long term fixes that would probably require permitting and things like that so we don’t have a solution right now,” Hogshead added.

Jose Gonzalez, another resident of Hidden Village Apartments, said the property management told him there was little they could do about the flooding because it was caused by Mother Nature. He was unable to make it to work that day because of the flood.

“He apologized but he was not apologetic when it came to my work,” Gonzalez said.

Quinn, the resident paying people for rides, said she is unable to receive her medication because the post office will not deliver to the apartment complex due to the flooding.

“I have classes and appointments at the Veterans Affairs Hospital that I’ve had to cancel because I don’t want to try to drive my car through the water,” she said.

WUFT did not receive a response by deadline yesterday from Collier Company about having mail dropped off for the complex.

About Jennifer Tintner

Jennifer is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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