Almost 20 months after Hurricane Harvey struck Galveston County, commissioners plan to ask the federal government to assist with repairs to streets and county buildings in Bacliff.

Commissioners on Monday will consider submitting a disaster recovery application to the Texas General Land Office proposing $3.3 million in drainage improvements to Jackson Avenue in Bacliff.

The street runs between state Highway 146 and Galveston Bay, and is lined by houses for more then 20 blocks. In its application to the land office, which is directing federal infrastructure repair money granted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the county said the area around Jackson Avenue is a “drainage bowl.”

During floods, such as during Harvey, the street poses a risk to residents and emergency responders, according to the county.

“The flood waters were not deep enough for a shallow watercraft, therefore emergency services could solely respond with a high-water vehicle to save residents out of their homes,” the county said in its application. “There were several special need residents in the area that were very challenging to rescue.”

Harvey flooded 193 homes in the Jackson Avenue area, according to the county.

The county’s plan proposes excavating the street and replacing the drainage system underneath it.

“If no action is taken, the area will continue to flood because it cannot drain properly,” the county said. “The community and its residents will continue to be vulnerable to continued flooding impacts from future hurricane and even rainfall events.”

As the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey approaches, state and local agencies are starting to solidify their proposals for large-scale infrastructure projects that could mitigate the damage caused by future storms.

Most of the federal dollars sent to Texas since the storm have been in the form of individual assistance to homeowners, or to agencies working on housing recovery. However, the next round of recovery funds is supposed to go toward infrastructure projects.

Congress approved $4.8 billion for storm mitigation projects in February 2018. That money has not been released until the federal housing department publishes rules on how the money can be spent, however. Those rules are supposed to be released in May.

Meanwhile, the county continues to find projects needing money.

In a separate application, the county plans to ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for repairs to the Bacliff Senior Center and Justice of the Peace office, which are both at 4503 11th St.

The buildings were damaged by wind-driven rain and flooding, and drywall was removed after the August 2017 storm.

The county is seeking $69,745 from FEMA for repairs, according to documents.

The Bacliff damage is not the only recovery item on commissioners’ agenda. The commissioners also plan to consider seeking approval to use unspent Hurricane Ike recovery money to repair the roof of the Galveston County Juvenile Justice Center. The $810,000 project would repair leaks in the roof of the building and make it waterproof, according to the county.

To pay for the roof repairs, the county would abandon plans to build a gateway sign welcoming people to the county. That project was first approved in 2016, but has never materialized.

Commissioners are scheduled to meet at 9:30 a.m. on Monday.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; or on Twitter @johnwferguson.


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