More conversation needed for flood talksPublished 5:48pm Saturday, September 28, 2013
We applaud the Austin city officials and the more than 60 residents who turned out Wednesday evening to hear about upcoming flood mitigation efforts, but this should only be the beginning of the conversation.
Public Works Director Steven Lang outlined plans that could lead to more property surveys, soil borings and project design meetings for residents living along Turtle Creek as engineering firm Bolton & Menk draw up plans for individual properties along the creek from Oakland Avenue West to the Cedar River.
Not everyone was excited at the meeting about the $4 million project, and several residents expressed concerns about potential berms in their backyards, no protection whatsoever, and potential effects to property.
We certainly can’t blame homeowners for being skeptical about the city’s plans for their property, especially since they’re surely leery of a perceived lack of control over the city’s looming actions.
On the flip side, the city boasts an impressive track record when it comes to flood mitigation. Many people won’t remember that a record amount of precipitation fell on Austin early this year. However, Austin didn’t flood — in part thanks to Mother Nature, but surely the city’s flood mitigation efforts at least played a part.
That said, much work remains to be done, and communication will be vital moving forward. City officials have an obligation to do everything possible to ensure effected homeowners have ample opportunities to learn about upcoming mitigation efforts. The homeowners have an equal obligation to stay informed.
If successful, the city’s efforts to reduce the effect of flooding will be a source of pride for the community; however, the public must be the city’s closest partner every step of the way.