$105M in flood projects planned in Pasadena
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded $79.4 million to the city of Pasadena to fund flood prevention and recovery projects north of Spencer Highway in the aftermath of devastating flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
Pasadena will contribute an additional $26.4 million to meet a required 25 percent match, bringing total funds for the work to $105.6 million, according to a budget worksheet provided by the city.
“This is one of the first Harvey flood mitigation grants of this magnitude to be accepted in the state. It’s historic for Pasadena,” Mayor Jeff Wagner said in a written statement. “Streets that have been neglected for decades are not just getting an overlay. We’re fixing the root of the problem by getting new underground utilities (sewer, drainage & water), neighborhood street reconstruction and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant sidewalks.”
The federal money is coming through the Texas Department of Emergency Management. The federal grant provides funds for flood prevention and and recovery after a presidentially declared disaster, according to a FEMA press release.
“When the application was first brought to me, it was for a $58 million grant. ... I knew the problem was more extensive,” Wagner said in his statement. “We pulled out maps and looked at streets that had to be fixed and came up with a revised plan that was accepted by the United States government.”
Much of that work is planned for streets north of Spencer, the area of the city with the highest concentration of low-income residents, between Allen Genoa and the East Sam Houston Tollway, city spokeswoman Laura Branch Mireles said in a written statement.
The first phase of the project will pay for research and design of the construction’s engineering, detention pond plans and a storm water pump station, Mireles said.
The second phase will see construction start to help alleviate flooding along 137,617 linear feet — roughly 25 miles — of Pasadena’s residential streets and major roadways, she said.
FEMA released an initial $11.6 million out of $19 million earmarked for engineering analysis, budgeting estimates and environmental studies for the design phase of the work, according to City Council agenda documents from a Dec. 4 meeting. The city’s match for that money is $4.7 million.
Of the remaining federal money, $58.7 million is allocated for materials and equipment and $27.9 million for labor costs.
“This is why we did the tax increase, folks,” City Councilman Thomas Schoenbein said at the Dec. 4 meeting. “It’s part to get three dollars back for every dollar we put in. This is going to ensure we continue to grow Pasadena through the flood mitigation programs.”
On Oct. 16 in a 6-3 vote, the council approved a 4 cent increase in the property tax rate to bring it to 61.5 cents per $100 of home valuation.