Jun 02, 2021

Residents in Low-to-Moderate Income Areas in Texas to Receive Storm Water Improvements

A project aims to improve drainage infrastructure in Jim Wells County (JWC) and the cities of Alice and Premont in Texas.

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Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Jim Wells County Judge Juan Rodriguez announced the Texas General Land Office (GLO) approved more than $29.7 million in flood mitigation projects.

The project aims to improve drainage infrastructure in Jim Wells County (JWC) and the cities of Alice and Premont, reported Alice Echo-News Journal. These areas house thousands of residents in majority low-to-moderate income (LMI) areas that have faced storm damage.

The city of Alice’s Virginia St. Area Drainage Project received $6,942,192 and has an LMI percentage of 56.68%. This project will increase the resiliency of the existing drainage system in the Virginia Street area.

The city of Premont’s Drainage Improvements and Flood Mitigation Project received $13,115,995 and has an LMI percentage of 55.28%. The project encompasses: drainage channel rehabilitation; drainage channel widening and deepening; installation of properly sized culvert systems; and creation of retention ponds.

The JWC Rancho Alegre and Alice Acres Drainage and Detention Project received $9,650,296 and has an LMI percentage of 54.87%. This project will make improvements to the county drainage system in the Rancho Alegre and Alice Acres Census Designated Places (CDPs).

“Since 2015, 140 Texas counties have received federal disaster declarations, and now Texas leads the nation in these declarations,” said Commissioner Bush, reported Alice Echo-News Journal. “Residents of Jim Wells have experienced significant flood damage no less than three times in the past six years. But the funding needed to mitigate against flooding are hard to come by, especially in low-to-moderate-income communities. The GLO is to partner with Jim Wells County in helping communities across our Texas coast to increase public safety, prevent property loss, and minimize hardship on Texans by supporting projects that will lower the impacts of future disasters.”

In May 2020, Commissioner Bush announced the kick-off of the application process for the first round of more than $2.3 billion in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which will protect Texas communities hit by Hurricane Harvey and severe flooding in 2015 and 2016. 

According to Alice Echo-News Journal, during the first round the GLO conducted three competitive application programs from the CDBG-MIT Action Plan, which include: 

  • 2015 Floods State Mitigation Competition, which was awarded $31,426,781 to four grantees;
  • 2016 Floods State Mitigation Competition, which awarded 21 grantees with $135,462,438;
  • And Hurricane Harvey State Mitigation Competition Round 1 which received $1 billion.

The second round of the competition will award a remaining $1,144,776,720 in mitigation funding to Hurricane Harvey eligible entities, reported Alice Echo-News Journal. HUD requires that at least 50% of total funds must be used for activities benefiting LMI persons.

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