Cedar Park’s city-wide flood mitigation plan is in the works, first target identified

Williamson County

CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — For years, neighbors along a Cedar Park flood plain channel have worried about their homes flooding every time a heavy rain passes through.

“Every time it rains, you worry,” said Heinz Hartnagel. “I said to myself…uh oh, is it going to flood again?”

Cedar Park city council members plan to take action passing a resolution to authorize a professional service agreement with Scheme Consulting for the design of the Block House Creek Channelization Project.

Hartnagel lives just feet away from a major flood plain. He’s lived there for nearly 30 years. When he originally moved into his home, the area wasn’t in an incorporated part of the city — meaning it was less developed.

“The grass and the open farm land and everything absorbed a lot of the rain water,” said Hartnagel. “It’s not doing it anymore because of the housing and the roofs and the parking lots.”

Neighbors along Cypress Lane in the Block House Creek area have been petitioning city leaders for years to do something about the severe flooding.

“This area has needed drainage for years,” said Mayor Pro Tem Mel Kirkland.

The Block House Creek area hasn’t gone unnoticed. The flood mitigation hold up has been due to a lack of funds. In 2018, voters approved a redirecting of sales tax funds. 1/8 of a cent came out of economic development sales tax revenue, and was put into a stormwater drainage fund.

“We selected this as the first project to design in the stormwater program for several reasons,” said Emily Truman, Stormwater Program Manager. “It channelizes Block House Creek through the city owned Peggy Garner Park, so no homes buy-outs would be necessary.”

Minimal drainage and construction easements would be a necessary part of this project. The first phase would remove 12 properties from the flood plain.

“The idea is to get all 66 properties out of the flood hazard area,” said Truman.

City leaders are identifying funding options to finance the first stormwater project. The first design recommendations will be presented to council this summer.

The Block House channelization project is expected to cost $1 million. City leaders say they’ve submitted a HMGP (Hazard Mitigation Project Grant Program) to help with the funding process, however, have been placed on an alternate waiting list.

“The city was notified that we were not selected for the funding, but we were placed on an alternate list,” said Truman. “There’s approximately 250 project on that list, so we’ve got a lot of competition for that money.”

The city will continue to apply for grants. In the meantime, they plan to go through with the design of the project so that it will be shovel ready.

The project is estimated to cost $1 million. The stormwater project currently has $1.9 million generated, so far.

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