Residents in Friendswood reflect on Hurricane Harvey; City making improvements to help reduce long term flooding

FRIENDSWOOD – It’s been five years since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, however, the impact of the storm is still being felt in areas like Friendswood.

David Boatwright says floodwaters from Mary’s Creek behind his neighborhood quickly rose into the Wedgwood Village subdivision during that storm.

“We didn’t have more than 15-20 minutes warning before it was up in this yard, so it came up really fast,” Boatwright said.

Boatwright lives on Kingsmill Road and says it took months to find a contractor to make renovations.

“We lost everything in the house. We had three and a half feet of water in the house,” he said.

It’s a different story for his next-door neighbor.

“They are still rebuilding from the flood, and they’ve had a number of hassles,” Boatwright said.

Harvey flooded about 2,800 structures in Friendswood including the City’s Public Works facility. The walls had to be torn down and the building is not being used.

“As a result of Harvey, it basically totaled that building,” Brian Mansfield said.

Mansfield, who serves as the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management for the City of Friendswood, says they have made improvements over the last five years to help reduce long-term flooding.

“We are still working on some of our mitigation, our long-term mitigation projects that are trying to prevent things from happening or put us in a position for the future,” Mansfield.

Some of the projects include the Harold Whitaker Storm Water Basin at 1776 Park and Imperial Drive in Friendswood. Workers have added 800 feet of water capacity.

“I think we’ve come a long, good way in that time period,” Mansfield said.

In 2019, the residents of Friendswood approved $41 million in flood bonds which have been used in a number of ways, including purchasing flood-prone properties and as leverage for grants related to flood control projects.

“We have a community block grant for our Forest Bend detention pond,” Mansfield said.

The city has also received funding from the General Land Office which includes:

General Land Office

$4 million for Forest Bend detention pond

$2.6 million for the Deepwood Facility (Public Works/Engineering/Parks Crew) and Frenchman’s Creek subdivision buyout

$1 million for new Blackhawk Facility (Public Works/Engineering/Parks Crew) emergency shelter of last resort improvements

Texas Division of Emergency Management and Texas Water Development Board

$5 million for buyouts

$1 million to bury utility lines

It’s all good news for homeowners like Boatwright.

“Hopefully with the flood control improvements they are making in League City and Friendswood it will help,” he said.

The City of Friendswood works closely with the Galveston County Consolidated Drainage District (GCCDD) and the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) on any project that would be of benefit to residents of the community.

To learn more about the projects, click here.

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