San Marcos flooding victims meet with city to discuss solutions

Hays

People who were affected by the Blanco River flooding in 2015 met with San Marcos city engineers Wednesday evening at the San Marcos Activity Center to discuss potential solutions to avoid future floods. 

Through nearly $70 million in federal disaster recovery funds for the Blanco Riverine Flood Mitigation project, the city came up with a proposed infrastructure project flood mitigation on the Blanco River and presented to those in attendance. 

The city is looking at a few options to prevent the Blanco River from overflowing onto the city streets and into people’s home that includes channel systems and widening banks.

“Additional conveyance, some kind of a channel, maybe where there is a natural way that the water goes enhancing that channel,” said Laurie Moyer, the city of San Marcos’ director of engineering. “There is a city parcel that might be used to do that same thing and then there’s also the long term it may be an idea to help take some of the overflow from the Blanco and use an additional channel to carry it.”

For Blanco Gardens neighbor George Myers the 2015 floods seem like yesterday. 

“My daughter got in her canoe and canoed over here,” he said. “She pulled up on the porch and watched the river go by.”

He’s not alone, his neighbor, Blanca Loya, also remembers. 

“Three months after we purchased the house, it flooded,” she said. 

And, for Loya, the house she had moved into wasn’t just any house. It was her childhood home that she would now be sharing with her husband as she started a new chapter in her life.

“I really have an emotional attachment to it,” she said. “We just got to move back in a year and a half ago.”

The city hopes that the mitigation projects will help redirect the water when the Blanco River is close to overflowing.

For Myers, the 2015 floods weren’t the first, he said as he sat on his front porch recalling the 1998 flood. He says he feels prepared but doesn’t want to jinx it. 

“I raised my house 16 inches — bring it on,” he said, giggling. “But, I take that back,” he finished as he knocked on his front porch’s stair wood railing. 

However, for Loya, the road has not been an easy one. She says she has deleted every photo of her flooded home from her phone and her mind. 

Now, she wants to see the city take action.

“I think the main concern for me is time, we really want to see something happen,” she said. “At this point, it seems like we have been forgotten and again, the fear we have when we have some severe weather.”

Those who were unable to attend and would like to learn more can call the city of San Marcos engineering department at 512-393-8130 or visit www.sanmarcostx.gov/1536/Blanco-Riverine-Project.

The city’s engineering department will meet with the public again in August to present what they’ve come up from Wednesday night’s public meeting. 

City’s Engineering Department’s Timeline:

  • April 2018 Community Meeting
  • August 2018 Open House (Schematic design and environmental studies)
  • December 2018 Preliminary Engineering Report (Environmental Assessment EA)
  • August 2019 Environmental Decision (Engineering Design Plans)

If you live in Hays County and have a problem with FEMA’s new flood maps, the deadline to appeal is April 22 through April 24. Check out the maps online to make sure the information is correct.

The new flood maps should be finalized a year from now.

These will be the basis for future development in Hays, Caldwell, Guadalupe and Gonzales counties.

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