Governor Abbott Letter Request For Help

Governor Greg Abbott,

RE: Post Harvey Relief & Mitigation

I had several conversations with our Polk County Judge, Sydney Brown Murphy, post-Harvey.  In early May, I was made aware of Governor Abbott’s 4/26/2018 letter to County Judges. I contacted Sydney and she told me to contact our Precinct 1 Commissioner. I faxed a letter to Bob Willis on May 1 and I have not received a reply, yet. In that letter, I explained several items of concern, in our geographic area, pertaining to damage to our waterway infrastructure. I will include that information below. When I read through Governor Abbott’s letter, I believe that our area would qualify for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding program, based on these guidelines: “The third national objective includes activities designed to meet community development needs having a particular urgency, which the CDBG Program applies to Disaster Relief and Urgent Need Fund projects”. We definitely have an ‘urgent need’.

We also hope to qualify for engineering services to help assess our infrastructure damage and TDEM/HMGP monies to repair/improve those items that need to be done to avoid further damage to our homes. During Harvey, we lost several of our residents who had to ‘walk away’ from their homes, and some homes are nothing but rubble on the ground. We homeowners who are left (some still trying to rebuild) do not want to see this destruction continue, but that is what will happen if nothing is done.  We definitely need help over and above what our financial resources can afford.

While waiting for a response from Commissioner Willis, I was put in touch with State Representative James White’s office. I have had several conversations with him and his assistant. There has been some confusion about the next step to be taken. Part of that confusion may be caused by the fact that there is not any one ‘organization of authority’ involved. Our waterway system, and the damage from any potential collapse or failure of it, could affect many subdivisions and organizations.  These include Holiday Lake Estates, the Preserves at Sally Creek, Viewpoint, Holiday Woods, Karen’s Resort, and the Holiday Lake Estates VFD ESN 403. I have touched base with residents and/or personnel from most of them and hope to get in touch with the last today.

Our waterways have two main ‘inlets’: Sally Creek (by way of the Isham Branch) and the Trinity River; with the only ‘outlet’ being a return to the Trinity. Within these waterways, there are several infrastructures that are damaged or totally destroyed.  Areas of concern:

  • Wearing away of concrete and signs of cracking on the Londa Lynn spillways.
  • Repeated loss of rip-rap on Londa Lynn spillway.
  • Erosion pockets beneath the concrete, at the end of the Londa Lynn spillways.
  • Possible erosion of the earthen dam above the Londa Lynn spillways.
  • County Rd bridge was under several feet of water, w/large debris jammed under it – evaluate.
  • Previous total loss of Devils Lake Dam, Devils Lake, & drainage from Gerlach to Devils.
  • URGENT: Major erosion of support & retention pool at 2nd Gerlach Lake drainage culvert.
  • URGENT: An 8 foot piece of culvert dropped off of that 2nd drainage area and was destroyed.
  • URGENT: Roadway above 2nd culvert is rapidly eroding and at risk of collapsing the road itself.
  • URGENT: This 2nd culvert roadway is used by residents and the Goodrich school bus.
  • The 3rd Gerlach Lake drainage culvert has lost it’s open area depth. It may be crushed.
  • If the 3rd culvert fails, we will lose a 2nd roadway section, leaving no egress for many residents.
  • The levee above Holiday Lake may need repair to be a viable fail-safe to residents on that lake.
  • The Trinity River banks have eroded considerably, leaving some homes in precarious condition.

MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Any mitigation repairs/improvements need to resolve future loss of property and possibly human life. This requires more than a ‘quick fix’. I believe that the next ‘best step’ would be a ‘walk through’ with representatives from all of the organizations previously mentioned, along with fed/state/ and/or county officials and, hopefully, grant funded engineers to review all aspects of these waterway infrastructures.

We need mitigation grant monies to accomplish any of this. Many of our residents are lower income households. If we don’t receive financial help, any repairs will be done ‘one band-aid project at a time’.

Attached, you will find the signatures of 114 residents from the area of concern. Through this signed petition, they are asking for your help in applying for the funding and services that we will need to avoid future loss of homes, and potentially residents.

Thank You, Sharon Lane

Senator Ted Cruz
Senator John Cornyn
Representative Brian Babin
Texas Representative James White
Sydney Brown Murphy – Polk County Commissioners’ Court Judge
Robert “Bob” Willis – Polk County Commissioner, Precinct 1
Danny Davis – HLECC Chairperson
Bobby Bridwell – HLEVFD Fire Chief
Arthur West – Viewpoint
Stacie Cokinos – The Preserves

** For those of you who have not signed the petition, yet, you can do so –> Here

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