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Plan To Spend Federal Funds To Recover From 2015 Floods Focuses On Infrastructure

The Houston City Council is scheduled to vote on it next week.

The City of Houston's plan to spend federal funding  to recover from the 2015 floods focuses on improving infrastructure.
The City of Houston’s plan to spend federal funding to recover from the 2015 floods focuses on improving infrastructure.

City of Houston officials presented their plan to spend funding from the federal government towards the recovery from last year’s floods this week.

The City can have access to 66.5 million dollars, provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD.

The City’s Housing and Community Development Department, HCDD, is the lead agency in the plan.

“We’ve made the decision to focus on infrastructure that will actually improve the ability to withstand heavy rainfall that caused the flooding in 2015,” explains Tom McCasland, interim director of the HCDD.

That would mean improving existing drainage systems and water detention structures like ponds, as well as building new ones.

McCasland says the focus would be on reducing potential downstream flooding in areas such as southwest Houston and specifically neighborhoods like Meyerland, which was one of the hardest hit.

Larry Rose, president of the Meyerland Community Improvement Association, which represents more than two thousand homes in that neighborhood, attended the hearing where the plan was presented and thinks it goes in the right direction.

“It makes a lot of sense,” notes Rose, “as a resident of Meyerland, as well as being a member of the board who happens to hold a leadership position, I agree with them and this seems to be the thinking of the other subdivisions that were impacted by the flood.”

The plan calls for spending 29 million dollars on infrastructure and improvements and 20 million on buying out and demolishing severely damaged apartment complexes to use those properties also for infrastructure improvements.

Another 12 million would be spent on repairing single family homes.

McCasland says the City would have a limited time to do all this. “All of these funds must be spend within six years and we wanna get them spent well before then so that the infrastructure is actually in the ground.”

The Houston City Council is scheduled to vote on the plan next Wednesday.

If it’s approved, the City will submit it to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which will have 45 days to review the plan.

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Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz

Digital News Producer

Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz is originally from Madrid (Spain). He worked for several years in his home country and gained experience in all platforms of journalism, from wire services to print, as well as broadcast and digital reporting. In 2001, Al came to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree...

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