WESLACO, Texas – The executive director of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council says General Land Office Commissioner Dawn Buckingham is likely to come back to South Texas soon to award even more disaster recovery funds.

Last week, Buckingham distributed approximately $12.5 million for infrastructure and flood reduction projects aimed at strengthening the Valley against disasters like the 2018 South Texas floods.

“I would like to congratulate all the cities and counties that received funding from the GLO,” said LRGVDC Executive Director Manuel ‘Manny’ Cruz, at a council of government meeting on Feb. 22. “GLO Commissioner Dawn Buckingham visited the Rio Grande Valley recently and awarded approximately $12.5 million to various entities for the 2018 South Texas flood events. She’s hoping to come back very soon to award some more checks for the 2019 South Texas flood event. Further information will be disseminated as we receive it.”

LRGVDC Executive Director Manuel ‘Manny’ Cruz

In a video message during her recent visit to the Valley, Buckingham said: “Today is a great day. We’re in the Rio Grande Valley passing out millions of dollars to our local community mutual constituents to help them with flood mitigation projects that are incredibly important to this region. Our priority is just that we serve the people we’re supposed to serve and that we do it. Well. This region will always be your priority at the General Land Office, and as long as you’re keeping those people in mind that you’re supposed to be serving and those are the steps you’re taking, then that’s what we need to be doing.”

Buckingham said 13 federally eligible infrastructure projects in Cameron and Hidalgo counties will benefit from the GLO funds. She said the funds will be used to improve streets as well as water and drainage facilities in the cities of Alamo, Alton, Combes, Donna, Edinburg, La Feria, La Villa, Mercedes, Mission, Palmview, Progreso, Rio Hondo as well as Hidalgo County.

“Severe flooding in 2018 inundated drainage systems, roads and infrastructure throughout the Lower Rio Grande Valley,” Buckingham said. “The GLO is committed to serving the people who need it most, and not only rebuilding communities, but also helping them grow and thrive. These infrastructure projects will long serve the entire Rio Grande Valley and strengthen and fortify the region against future flooding.”

Edinburg Mayor Ramiro Garza said the funds his city has received will go towards drainage improvements on the northwest side. Garza said the Chapin Pumps Rehabilitation Drainage Improvements Project involves the design and installation of new pumps, and rehabilitation of the existing pump station and gates. He said the project will mitigate flooding within the service area by discharging floodwaters to nearby Chapin Pond. Chapin Pond is a detention pond that serves approximately 670 acres of residential, commercial, higher education areas and underdeveloped land. It is vital in providing flood critical detention services to the west side of Edinburg.

“We are thrilled to receive this state grant, which will help us to enhance our progress on flood mitigation in our community,” Mayor Garza said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to improve the infrastructure and fortify our city against future flooding.”

The engineering design will take six to eight months once the official award is issued and construction on the project is projected by early 2024, Garza added. “The City of Edinburg would like to thank the GLO for their support and partnership in this important initiative.”

Here is how the approximately $12.5 million is being distributed:

City of Alamo flood improvements – $973,285

The City of Alamo will perform flood and drainage improvements in the central section of the city known as the Duranta Avenue area. The city has joined with the PSJA School District, TxDOT, and Drainage District No.1 to help with the drainage of this area. This project will include drainage improvements for the area bounded by US Bus 83, Expressway I-2, and Alamo Road. Construction will include a 2.50-acre detention pond, installing new inlets, installing 1,400 linear feet of 24-inch pipe, and installing 1500 linear feet of 18-inch pipe.

City of Alton drainage improvements – $1 million

The City of Alton will provide pavement and drainage improvements to an area that spans eastward and westward of the intersection of Mayberry Boulevard and East St. Jude (6 Mile Road). The project includes the grading of roadside swales, installing driveway and roadway culverts, upgrading storm water systems with area inlets and reinforced concrete pipe, and reconstructing existing asphalt roadways along East St. Jude for approximately 2,600 linear feet and approximately 900 linear feet along Mayberry Boulevard.

City of Combes sewer improvements – $1 million

The City of Combes sewer system was damaged by the 2018 flooding event. The city will make improvements to the damaged sewer system. by reducing excess inflow and infiltration from existing lift stations located throughout the city and will prevent wastewater from overflowing into the surrounding areas. These improvements will allow the system to operate more effectively and eliminate current environmental threats from overflows. Improvements will include replacing 208 manhole lids, replacing existing ring and covers, rehabilitating sanitary sewer manholes that experience infiltration, coating rehabilitated manholes with a sealant, in addition to subsidiary pavement repair, regrading, site improvements, and erosion and traffic control.

City of Donna sewer improvements – $1 million

The City of Donna will install five individual and affixed emergency backup pumps at five individual lift stations located strategically throughout the city to enhance sanitary sewer efforts in the event of loss of power. Construction will take place at the following locations:

·    Lift Station #2 – East side of South 18th Street where it intersects North Canal Street

·    Lift Station #4 – Northeast corner of the intersection at Fordyce Avenue and Farm-to-Market Road 493

·    Lift Station #5 – Southeast corner of the intersection at Farm-to-Market Road 493 and Wood Avenue

·    Lift Station #7- Southwest corner of the intersection at North Avenue and North 7th Street

·    Lift Station #9 – South side of Fordyce Avenue, between South 5th Street and South 6th Street

City of Edinburg drainage improvements – $1 million

The Chapin Pumps Rehabilitation Drainage Improvements Project involves the design and installation of new pumps, and rehabilitation of the existing pump station and gates. The project will mitigate flooding within the service area by discharging floodwaters to the nearby Chapin Pond. Chapin Pond is a detention pond that serves approximately 670 acres of residential, commercial, and underdeveloped land and is vital in providing flood detention services to critical city and regional facilities.

Hidalgo County stormwater improvements – $1 million

Due to the threat to public health and safety from recurring flood events, the project will provide regional stormwater management to the City of Palmview by enhancing the city’s primary drainage outfall. The project will expand approximately one mile of the existing Palmview Lateral system – resulting in 128,831 cubic yards of additional capacity and augmenting its ability to safely manage stormwater in the City of Palmview and surrounding communities.

The project includes the following activities:

·    Expand the Palmview Lateral Drainage Channel by approximately one mile via excavation of 80,809 cubic yards

·    Rehabilitate/construct 10,278 cubic yards of embankment

·    Construct a 5.22-acre retention pond adjacent to the existing channel

City of La Feria drainage improvements – $1 million

The City of La Feria will install new reinforced concrete pipe, concrete lining, widening of the drainage channel and culvert rehabilitation. The drainage improvements will help the City of La Feria withstand future flooding events and continue to recover after the 2018 flooding event. 

The project includes the following activities:

·    Install one hundred 110 linear feet of reinforced concrete pipe including modifications to existing structure to accommodate the new reinforced concrete pipe

·    Install 700 linear of concrete lining and widening of existing drainage channel

·    Rehabilitate existing culvert

City of La Villa drainage improvements – $1 million

As the eastern-most city in northern Hidalgo County, the City of La Villa floods in part because the stormwater from other regions of Hidalgo County naturally outfall to the City of La Villa. This project will nearly double the system’s capacity and augment the system’s ability to safely manage stormwater for residences and businesses in the City of La Villa. This project will improve the existing drainage weir that will store water for consumptive use and regulate and redirect the flow of water north. Construction will include excavating 4,000 square yards, installing 250 linear feet of 36-inch reinforced concrete pipe, and expanding approximately 1 mile of the existing Palmview lateral system.

City of Mercedes drainage improvements – $1 million

The City of Mercedes and Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 are working together to enhance the drainage of the South Mercedes Lateral. This project will provide flood control protection to an area measuring 761.51 acres. This project increases the amount of rainfall flowing through the IBWC levee, reduces the likelihood of flooding, and improves flow capacity and outfall for the South Mercedes Lateral. The completion of this project significantly enhances the management of stormwater for the City of Mercedes and of Zip Code 78570. The project will construct three detention ponds totaling 10 acres and install permanent pump platforms.

City of Mission drainage improvements – $997,236.75

The project will excavate, clear, establish embankments, and other related activities to create a four-acre detention pond to improve drainage in the area. The work will also include some reinforced concrete pipes, approximately 375 linear feet of 24-inch reinforced concrete pipes, approximately 190 linear feet of 60-inch reinforced concrete pipes, and approximately 165 linear feet of 54-inch reinforced concrete pipes. . Drainage improvements will take place near the intersections of Mile 1 South Road, La Chuchilla Circle Valley, West B Street and South Olmo Street.

City of Palmview drainage improvements – $540,475.61

Azucena, Claveles, Magnolia and Tulipan Streets flood during storm events beginning at the cul-de-sac’s then north within the streets and surrounding lots towards Bougainvillea Street. Storm water must be pumped out of the streets with a City of Palmview mobile pump. The drainage improvements consist of storm inlets at the end of each cul-de-sac. Stormwater captured via the inlets will be conveyed through an underground storm drainpipe system which drains into an existing drainage easement at the south end of the subdivision towards the east to a proposed detention pond outfall location. The ultimate outfall from the detention pond will be into a roadside ditch located on the west side of Silver Spur Lane at controlled release rate to prevent any adverse drainage impacts to the existing ditch. The project will install four storm inlets; five manholes; approximately 1,156 linear feet of underground storm drainpipe system; 1,320 linear feet of drainage ditch and expand a detention pond.

City of Progreso drainage improvements – $1 million

The City of Progreso will enhance the city’s primary drainage outfall system by making a series of improvements that will create regional flood control for the city. The primary task will create new systems and enhance existing systems primarily by means of excavation to create stormwater-retention reservoirs.

This project involves the following activities:

·    Widen 21,712 linear feet of drainage outfall systems (amounting to 126,000 cubic yards of excavation and creation of additional capacity).

·    Enhance crossings to larger diameter pipe in four locations

·    Create a minor retention area

·     Enhance and create a regional detention pond

City of Rio Hondo drainage improvements – $1 million

This project will provide drainage improvements and increase roadway width on Heywood Street to increase the overall capacity of stormwater management in the area of Heywood Street. The existing drainage system in the area is insufficient in both sizing and capacity to manage stormwater. As the city is subject to more frequent and severe storm events, the roadways cannot divert the storm water to the drain system and instead the stormwater floods into resident properties and stand on the road surface for extended periods. 

The project includes the following activities:

·    Install 16 curb inlets

·    Install five junction boxes

·    Install approximately 3,645 linear feet of underground storm drainpipe system

·    Expand Heywood Street from 20 feet to 32 feet

·    Expand 3,716 linear feet of curb and gutter

·    Restore pavement to original condition and all associated appurtenances

Texas GLO 2018 South Texas Floods Disaster Recovery Funds

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) is administering more than $72 million in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for long-term disaster recovery from significant flooding in 2018 in the counties of Cameron, Hidalgo, and Jim Wells. The GLO allocated $19.69 million in disaster recovery funds for infrastructure projects to provide disaster relief, long-term recovery, and restoration of infrastructure for local communities. The GLO announced the opening of the application for eligible counties and cities on March 15, 2022, and applications closed on August 1, 2022. Each applicant was eligible to submit a total of two applications. All activities had to contribute to the long-term recovery and restoration of infrastructure. The GLO recognizes that as part of a comprehensive long-term recovery program, the repair and enhancements of local infrastructure are crucial components. Infrastructure activities are vital not only for the long-term recovery and restoration of housing but for the long-term recovery and viability of communities.

Editor’s Note: For more information about the GLO’s disaster recovery work go to: Recovery.texas.gov

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