San Marcos figuring out how to spend $25 million on long-term flooding solutions

I-35 closed in San Marcos
I-35 closed in San Marcos (Courtesy: Will Gerdes)

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — After a year where the city of San Marcos went through two major floods, the city hosted the first of two town hall meetings to get residents up to speed on the progress they’ve made when it comes to recovery efforts.

They also wanted to find out if homeowners have any unmet needs.

David Kavecki and his wife were among the 100-plus people who packed into the cafeteria at Hill Country Church on Davis Lane Tuesday night. Their home was hit during the Memorial Day 2015 flood.

“The lowest room in our house is our den and that room got water in it,” said Kavecki. “We came out a lot better than a lot of people did because their whole house was decimated by this.”

The repairs are behind him, and now he wants to know what the city is doing to prevent a disaster from causing so much damage again.

“The flooding issues here have been here for years and years and years and years, and nothing has been done about it. There’s been a lot of talk and no action,” said Kavecki.

City Manager Jared Miller has an answer. During the meeting, he shared information about a $25 million grant that will soon be awarded from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The city has traveled to Washington D.C. twice since December to meet with local Congressman to share the city’s flooding stories in an effort to fight for the recovery dollars. He got the call last month that the dollars would be gifted to San Marcos.

“You get that rush across your skin, that flush in your skin, and you’re thinking this can’t be possible,” said Miller. “And then eventually you start high-fiving people and you think how are we going to do i?”

The next step will be figuring out the best way to spend the grant money to protect the most property and lives when historical rains hit again.

“I’m open to hearing lots of different things,” said Kavecki. “But I want it to lead to something that’s going to be a potential solution and something pretty quick.”

The city says the federal government would like them to spend the money on projects that are focused around resiliency. For example, some of the money can be used to fix homes, but it might make more sense in the long run to move them entirely. Other ideas include redirecting the river, and developing new drainage systems.

A team of experts are looking solutions, but nothing has been decided. The grant requires public input, which will be happening as the process moves along.

The next town hall is Saturday, April 16 at Fire Station 5, 100 Carlson Circle, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

San Marcos residents can also participate by watching the meetings online and engaging in an online chatroom with city officials. The live streaming and chatroom will be available at http://www.sanmarcostx.gov/townhall during the town hall meetings scheduled.

Spanish speaking interpreters will be present at both meetings to assist those who have limited proficiency in English.

A summary of the meetings will be presented to the San Marcos City Council Monday, April 25 during a special workshop beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 630 E. Hopkins.

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