Austin wants to buy out flood-damaged homes


by TINA SHIVELY / KVUE News and Photojournalist KENNETH NULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @TinaS_KVUE

Posted on November 7, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 7 at 11:18 AM

AUSTIN -- Austin's Watershed Protection Department has found the money to buy out more than 100 of the nearly 700 flood-damaged homes in Onion Creek.

They plan to go door to door to inform homeowners about the proposed purchase.

The Onion Creek neighborhood was built well before the City of Austin and the Army Corps of Engineers deemed the area a flood plain.

Since 1999, Austin has purchased more than 300 homes. The city's Watershed Protection Department says it is putting a number of capital improvement projects on hold to help buy out 115 more.

The department has not said which projects will be abandoned or how much the whole plan will cost.

"They didn't tell us at all it was a flood plain, not until it flooded for the first time in '98," said homeowner and flood victim Fernando Mendoza.

"After the storm we have been pulling all the resources, looking at every project that we have in our capital improvement planning and looking at how much money we can pool together from the City," said
Mapi Vigil with Austin's Watershed Protection Department.

City staffers say the dozens of other Onion Creek homes damaged by the flood may never be bought out unless the federal government steps in to help.

Go here for ways you can help Central Texas flood victims.