Colonia residents are raising their voice regarding flooding–and being heard by their elected officials.
In a meeting between elected officials and engineers specializing in drainage, colonia residents rose concerns with flooding in their San Carlos colonias that lasts days after rain, affecting the daily life of residents.
“Even with a light rain the area floods,” says Leticia Parra, resident of colonia curry estates. After a rain, both streets providing access to the colonia entrance flood.
Flooding reaches from the entrance of the colonia, up to 5 houses in. The water reaches up to her car door, says Bonnie Medina, who does health outreach with the Center for Housing and Urban Development – Colonias Program, housed at the San Carlos Community Center.
ARISE, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Proyecto Azteca, the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service and other members of the Equal Voice Housing Working Group were present at the meeting. Daniel Diaz and Martha Sanchez, led the meeting, one of a series of such gatherings called to establish for county officials the gravity of the drainage troubles that have afflicted colonia residents for decades.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Joel Palacios, Raul Sesin of the Hidalgo County Planning Department, Mario Garcia, Program Administrator for the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, and several engineers and county officials listened to the testimonies of the colonia residents.
Commissioner Palacios (bottom left) explains drainage projects to residents of San Carlos colonias
After residents of Colonia Curry Estates laid out their concerns, Commissioner Palacios and his team addressed them one by one, saying that Precinct 4 has the people and money to work on the projects. Part of the problem, however, is that the swells that are clogged and blocking drainage to newly constructed holding ponds may be located on private property.
Commissioner Palacios said that the county has an engineer that will find out who owns the swells. “The problem is, it’s against the law for the county to enter into private property,” he said. “The thing is we have people that can do all the work, so we won’t have to wait until funds come, or anything like that.”
“Right now for the mean time, Raul [Sesin] will work on that, and if they are the county’s, right away we can enter.”
Colonia residents told Commissioner Palacios that they will be persistent with their concerns. Leticia Parra assured him: “If you don’t take us into account, we’ll be back.”
The neighborhood meeting is one of a series of steps organized by Equal Voice Housing organizers and Mr. Mario Garcia, the Economic Development Program Director for the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council. The meetings are organized for the purpose of including colonia-related drainage projects in the regional plans developed by the LRGV Development Council and County.