SAN MARCOS, TEXAS - The images of floodwaters are burned into the minds of people throughout the Blanco Gardens subdivision.
“The fact that the second flood came along when we had already just started, and done quite a bit for the first flood, it just wiped everything out and we had to start over,” said Ruah Gleason.
“We lost everything inside the house," added Joseph Perez. "Everything and we had to start all over again.”
Both Gleason and Perez’s families had flood insurance -- but were forced to pay out of pocket for certain living expenses as work was being done on their homes.
“We were lucky we had family," Perez said. "But still we had to still pay -- to pay to help out because we were an added burden from them."
“Well the main number that I like to tell people is around $12 to 13,000 on hotel costs, because we went ahead and decided it was in our best interest to live close by the house so we can get by the repairs, so we paid a weekly rate at Motel 6,” explained Gleason.
Their concerns today focused on preventing such situations from happening again.
“Too much cement, and no place for the water to go. So it comes all to the neighborhood,” said Perez, pointing to new construction in the area.
“We feel like we need some infrastructure protection, we'd like to see something big done through the Army Corps of Engineers in the future,” Gleason said.
The Blanco Gardens subdivision is one of the most flood-prone areas throughout the city. Right now, it's at less than a 25-year floodplain.
“This project alone will bring it up to 36 years, and we're hoping maybe it will go even further than that,” said Stacey Brown, the San Marcos Housing and Community Development Manager.
The project costs $11.5 million and is funded by CDBG-DR grants ($6.9 million), city funds and money from the Texas Water Development Board, according to Brown.
She said they hope to get it up to as secure as a 45-year floodplain, or a 2.2 percent annual change.
Previous plans focused on drainage and road issues, while this project keys in on a different problem.
“Bank improvements," Brown said. "So we have a lot of low areas that we're going to be filling in, so the river doesn't just naturally go over the bank and into the neighborhood."
The recently approved project is expected to be completed by 2022.
There's a separate fund aimed at directly assisting homeowners. The Housing Rehabilitation program helps with damages less than $45,000 -- for issues ranging from flooring, ceiling or HVAC.
For damages more than that, the city has money set aside to rebuild or elevate homes.
While the plans are a step forward, homeowners want to see action -- and want to see it sooner rather than later.
Brown said more than 60 families have applied so far, and the deadline is on Nov. 17. Officials hope to complete work on the homes in two years, with work slated to begin in December. For full rebuilds, contractors estimated projects would take 90 days to complete.
“We want to help them as quickly as possible,” said Brown.
To learn about applying, click here.
Gleason began the application process, but said her family made too much money to qualify.
While she has faith in the City Council, she hoped to see the approved plans turn into action soon.
“I think (the City Council) is behind the neighborhood, and I think that something’s going to happen, but I think there’s a lot of people who want to see it happen quickly,” Gleason said.
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