City Considers Buying Homes For Flood Project

Posted at: 07/16/2013 10:18 PM
Updated at: 07/16/2013 10:25 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- The city of Austin is getting closer to launching a multi-million dollar flood mitigation project for Turtle Creek.

City officials recently secured a $1.8 million grant from the DNR to help pay for the project, which is expected to cost around $3.3 million.

And while city officials are pleased, not everyone is so keen on the idea.

That’s because while much of the city's flood mitigation plan involves building flood walls and berms to keep waters out of homes, another part may move people out of their homes as well.

Jerry Adams and his wife have lived in their home on the southwest side of Austin for the past five years.

Turtle Creek runs directly behind their house, but still Adams says, so far, flooding hasn't been an issue.

“The only flooding we get is way in the back yard, just the corner of the back yard gets water,” Adams said. “There's nothing back there anyway."

And yet, Adams' home is one of at least six specific properties the city is thinking about buying as part of its larger flood project.

City officials say in the long run it will be cheaper than using other flood mitigation strategies, but for homeowners like Adams, it means losing his home.

“Instead of making us turn away from the problem, why don't they just come in here and do something with my piece of property to make it so that we don't get water back here?” Adams said.

Despite spending thousands of dollars on improvements and running a daycare out of the ground floor of their home, Adams and his wife reluctantly searched for new homes on Tuesday night.

“My wife thinks that doomsday is coming and we're going to have to find a place to live,” Adams said. “We haven't seen anything that matches what we got."

And while the city continues to prepare for rising flood waters, Adams and his wife hope the floods and the move never come.

“I love it here,” Adams said. “I'm not ready to move."

At this point nothing has been set in stone, but city officials will continue to look at the city engineer's recommendations and come up with a final plan in the coming months.