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Peabody trying to mitigate history of downtown flooding

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PEABODY — In heavy rain, Peabody Square can look more like a lake than the heart of the city’s downtown business district.

Following the Mother’s Day flood in May 2006, then-mayor Michael Bonfanti estimated that a series of deluges had cost Peabody at least $130 million in repair costs and “lost economic opportunity.”

But current Mayor Ted Bettencourt said he is not yet ready to commit to a $20-plus million, five-year project to install two culverts under the square to carry more floodwater into the North River.

“I’m getting conflicting information as to whether that project would work,” Bettencourt said. “It would not address the tidal issue. I’m concerned about making that type of investment, and there is no guarantee that it’s going to work.”

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