Harlingen flood victims express disapproval of city’s proposed drainage plans

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas — City of Harlingen commissioners voted 3 to 2 to advance two ordinances aimed at improving the city’s flooding during a special meeting.

Residents across Harlingen tell KVEO that a vote for these ordinances is a vote to allow their homes and businesses to continue to flood and that more needs to be done.  

“Every time it floods, the city says we’re going to work on it, it’s going to get better,” Harlingen resident Sue Thomas said. “Nothing is changing. Nothing is getting better.”  

Thomas lives on Crocket Avenue and says little is being done to manage the area’s flooding, which significantly increased as surrounding businesses were erected.  

“Every time they added a new building, this neighborhood started to go under,” she said. “Up until then it didn’t go anywhere and the city’s response was to give us a little ditch.”  

The ditch is just about a foot deep, and fills up quickly. While her home is raised and doesn’t see as much damage from the rain, Thomas does what she can to help her neighbors.  

“My house doesn’t flood but I watch theirs flood and I’m my neighbor’s keeper,” she said. “God says we’re supposed to take care of the people that live around us. I want the city to do the same thing.”  

A few miles over on Lake drive, people have the same issue.  

“It literally goes up my driveway, through my garage door, out my gate, down my sidewalk,” Edward Rocha, Harlingen resident said.  

Rocha was one of the 18 individuals to speak out against the drainage plan in yesterday’s meeting, which aims at boosting drainage standards from five-year storm designs to 25-year.  

He says this plan is way behind what other cities are doing and that Harlingen needs to focus more on their residents, and less on commercial growth.  

“They keep on talking about growth,” Rocha said. “Well I understand about growth, but we need to take care of the problems we have now. We’ve been paying taxes way too long and people need to start speaking up.” 

Assistant City Manager Carlos Sanchez says while, so far, the response from the community has been negative, the 25-year plan serves as a base model for improvement and residents can expect the flooding situation to improve. 

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