AUSTIN (KXAN) — More than 16 months after flood waters ripped through the Onion Creek neighborhood, it looks and feels different for those who call it home.
“We’re the only one on this block right here,” said Barbara Benavides. “We’ve had rainy days and I panic because I fear we’re going to get flooded again, but I pray we won’t have to go through that again.”
The city continues to purchase more homes in the neighborhood at risk of flooding. Last week, council approved money to buy 240 more homes at risk of flooding.
But despite her fears of more floods, Benavides and her family want to stay.
“We’ve been here 19 years I don’t want to move, I’m used to being here, this is my home.”
Benavides says they have slowly worked to pick up the pieces after the flood. Now, her prayers for more help have been answered.
A group of young people from around the state came to Austin to help her and others rebuild. Coordinated by Bounce Student Disaster Recovery, the ministry works to help affected communities in long-term recovery efforts.
“It was sad for all of us to hear,” said Haley Story, the team chaplain. “I don’t think any of us have experienced that in our area, so it was different. It provided us a great reason to work and help these people.”
“Grateful for these kids out here to help,” said Benavides. “They didn’t have to but they volunteered to do it.”
Benavides knows her family could one day face another flood, but to stay in her home, it’s worth the risk.
Bounce is planning additional trips to areas recovering from disasters, and may come back to Onion Creek in the future. They welcome Austin area youth to get involved in the work.
Onion Creek Park
The City of Austin is also moving forward with the Onion Creek Metro Park. On Thursday, the city unveiled their draft master plan of the park, nearly 15 years after purchasing the land. The site has remained undeveloped all these years due to funding issues, but planners were able to move forward with the project in 2014. It will be Austin’s largest city-owned park. The entire plan could take 8 to 12 years, and more funding will be needed.