County Holds Flood Infrastructure Planning Meeting

By Gloria Roemer

  Chambers County held a highly unpublicized public meeting last week in Mont Belvieu to discuss flood infrastructure planning within the County. About 30 persons attended the meeting which was hosted by Freese & Nichols Engineering. Freese and Nichols is the engineering firm hired by the County to conduct drainage and watershed studies throughout the county. Samantha Humphrey, economic development director for Chambers County, told me that currently Chambers County is applying for numerous grants to fund drainage and watershed studies and these studies will help the County apply for the grants available. “We are applying for a Texas Water Development Board grant in the amount of $6.4 million and a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant in the amount of $8,670,609.00,” said Humphrey.

  “The end product of these studies is to help identify where the drainage issues are. Based on the results of the study, Freese and Nichols will also provide a list of “shovel ready” projects throughout the County,” added Humphrey. Humphrey also said that Dayton, Ames, and Liberty are participating in the studies. “This is great news because so much of what Liberty County does regarding flood mitigation most definitely impacts Chambers County,” said Humphrey. “In basic terms, Freese & Nichols will be studying how water comes to and through Chambers County. About half of the study will be dealing with drainage issues and the other half will be about watersheds.”

  The attendees of the meeting were mostly frustrated about what they consider to be a “lack of action” on drainage issues by the County as well as being “studied out”. They were also disappointed that not one county commissioner was in attendance to hear their concerns. No one from Trinity Bay Conservation District was in attendance as well. Ryan Dagley, current Mayor of Beach City and Pct 4 Commissioner-elect did attend. “I have been dealing with these type issues for my constituents since I was first elected Mayor. This is very important to me to understand what is happening on the county side.”  Several Mont Belvieu members of city council were in attendance. Councilwoman Laurie Guidry explained how Mont Belvieu was very meticulous in regulating development in their city. “We do it the right way,” said Guidry. “Now it is time for the County to get on board.”

  Humphrey emphasized that there will be numerous public meetings throughout the County. Representatives of Freese & Nichols said that they want to talk with as many people as possible about their specific drainage/flood issues. This way they can hopefully identify “hot spots” in certain areas.

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