Flood Control District Backs Off Charting Buffalo
by: Laurie Johnson, February 17, 2012 7:02:00 pm
The Harris County Flood Control District is a quasi-governmental entity charged with developing projects to mitigate flooding in the Bayou City.
Fred Garcia says they came up with a series of ideas for the Buffalo Bayou and unveiled them to the public about a week ago.
"We believe some people over-reacted to what we were showing in the draft report. In other words, some people only focused on the pictures that showed certain trails and certain flood damage reduction features on properties where there are no public rights of way. And we're merely presenting concepts and ideas."
Residents on the west side of town were particularly upset with proposals to deforest part of Terry Hershey Park and demolish some mountain bike trails.
Garcia says they pulled the report after the first community meeting. The whole series of meetings, including one that was scheduled for tomorrow night, has been canceled.
"Maybe the public wasn't ready for us to be as proactive as we were, showing the concepts as we were. You know maybe we were kind of ahead of our time with the public. I don't know that the public is used to having an agency like ours going to them in an open and transparent form. I think most of the people are used to just here's what's going to happen and we're going to go do it."
Garcia says they'll make changes to Charting Buffalo and re-release the document to the public for further review. He says this is how the public comment process is supposed to work — with residents voicing their concerns and agencies listening and being flexible.