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Q&A: Your voice in flood control discussions

HOUSTON – It's been five months since Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area. As of Monday, people are still trying to get back to normal and still out of their home.

On Monday, community groups came together to come up with a strategy to address the flooding problem and see what can be done to prevent it in the future.

Here are three questions and answers following those concerns:

What is the Bayou City initiative?

A grass-roots organization formed after Hurricane Harvey devastated the area. The nonprofit is the brainchild of environmental attorney and Rice University professor Jim Blackburn. The idea is to gather a large cross section of ideas and strategies from neighborhood and community groups to prepare a vision paper of what citizens want for flood control.

“This is the first time we're really going to start hearing back from these citizens,” said Blackburn. 

How does the group work?

Blackburn said there will be a series of meetings to update the public on what government entities are doing in terms of flood control. 

“To basically take up the slack with what I consider to be communication with the public,” said Blackburn. “Typically, the public is not a part of these discussions.”

During these meetings, citizens will also discuss their thoughts on current and upcoming projects. During a meeting Monday, several organizations split into work groups to discuss how much money should be spent on these efforts. Blackburn believes Harris County leaders will soon call for a bond referendum, so part of the exercise involved the different work groups proposing what type of language they would like to see on the ballot.

What will happen with all this public input?

Blackburn said the organization will compile everything discussed during these meetings and present it to county and city leaders. He said the goal is to have citizen input included in flood-control efforts.

“Historically the public has not been involved much with flooding and flood-control issues,” said Blackburn.

You can learn more about the Bayou City Initiative by clicking link here.