San Marcos: City Approves $16.3 Million Grant Apportions for Four Flood Projects
Feature Illustration: An artist rendering by Halff Associates for the $14 million Blanco Riverine Regional Flood Mitigation Project.
by Art Benavidez
San Marcos (Hays County) — City Council approved a Community Development Block Grant-Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) action plan Tuesday that apportions $16.3 million to four flood prevention projects.
The lion’s share will be devoted to the Blanco Riverine Regional Flood Mitigation Project.
Fourteen million dollars is being allocated to develop a berm and relief channel to lessen the flood risk from the Blanco River in southwest San Marcos. A Texas Water Development Board grant will pay for the designs and a CDBG-DR grant will cover land acquisition. The CDBG-MIT grant pays for construction.
The Austin offices of Halff Associates and Cox-McLain Environmental Consulting are on board the project. Construction is expected to begin by November and be completed in November 2022.
Next on the list is the Blanco Gardens Neighborhood Drainage Project, which will cost an estimated $2 million. The drainage project will add channels, outfalls and require the regrading of River Road to reduce the risk of flooding in the neighborhood, an area of approximately 275-acres in southwest San Marcos.
The drainage project would efficiently convey stormwater runoff to the San Marcos River.
The Blanco Gardens Neighborhood is at risk of frequent flooding due to the Blanco River overtopping, as well as local storms, which overwhelm the existing drainage infrastructure and the neighborhood’s extremely flat terrain.
The project is expected to start in September and commence within a year. Austin-based Scheibe Consulting, LLC is on board the project.
An Enhanced Flood Hazard Warning System that would cost $300,000 and would install additional stream and rain gauges, and integrate them electronically with the Hays County Flood Warning System.
The system would install two turnkey alert two stream gauges, with precipitation, for the followings streams: Cottonwood Creek, Purgatory Creek, San Marcos River, Sessoms Creek, Sink Creek and Willow Springs Creek with 12 gauges, with integration, at a cost of $25,000 each, totaling $300,000
The CDBG-DR grant will pay for the design and CDBG-MIT grant would pay for the construction.
In addition, the city was approved for the purchase of signs, barricades, depth markers and similar devices for a total of $60,000 that would be used to purchase signs and barricades that can be used to warn the public of risks ahead and to set up evacuation routes if needed.
In 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated over $12 billion for mitigation activities that were proportional to the amounts that Community Development Disaster Recovery grantees received for qualifying federally declared disasters from 2015-2017.
On Aug. 20, 2019, the Federal Register published a $6.875 billion CDBG-MIT allocation to grantees recovering from qualifying disasters, with HUD giving $24 million in CDBG-MIT funds to the City of San Marcos.
Flooding on a San Marcos highway in 2015. Image: City of San Marcos.
Art Benavidez (Construction News Reporter, Central Texas) is a seasoned journalist with over 15-years of experience in writing breaking news and in-depth features at the local level. He honed his research and reporting skills in newspapers and magazines throughout South and West Texas along with expertise in crafting digital content as Managing Editor of New Image Marketing Research Corporation. Benevidez is a Texas native and graduate of UT-RGV.