WESLACO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The city of Weslaco is undergoing drainage construction to help alleviate the impact of heavy rains and storms.
When the heavy rains come Weslaco is usually one of the first cities to flood. Now the city is making vital changes for the city at Mayor Pablo Peña Park.
Weslaco Public Information Officer Cristina Garcia said the goal of the project is to improve water flow.
Although the construction may seem like it is only taking place in one location, Garcia said it does not only benefit the areas around the park. She said it affects everything throughout the cities since the Rio Grande Valley is all interconnected.
“Water here throughout the Rio Grande Valley flows from the west, east so from Starr County moving towards Hidalgo County and then Cameron County until it falls into the Laguna Madre,” she said.
According to Garcia, the park’s soccer field is currently unavailable and there has been the removal of park lights and electric cables that run underneath the ground.
Garcia said the weather is unpredictable so their way of preparing for it is by adding rainwater capacity into a bigger system compared to the one the city currently has.
“As a city on the grow we need to keep up with that. We are committed to adding these drainage projects to really benefit as many people as possible,” she said.
According to Garcia, in 2018, the city commission approved to hold an election that allowed voters to give their voice on whether they wanted to undertake a multimillion-dollar bond to pay for drainage products.
She said voters overwhelmingly approved that bond. They said loud and clear that this is what they wanted for their community.
Garcia said there is not an exact dollar amount of how much it will cost because the drainage project is put out to bid. Anyone who wishes to submit their bid to the city will be considered.
In addition, federal help has played a huge role.
“Right now we have secured about a little over $3 million in funding from FEMA and from TDEM so our federal and state partners have really helped us in this,” she said.
According to Garcia, the city applied for those grants because of the need residents have expressed.
She said the process has taken a while because the city needs to ensure that all money is used properly.
“The residents need and want and deserve as much drainage structure as possible,” she said.
Garcia said drainage has been a big concern and the reason why the area gets severe flooding is because there is a bigger population living in the RGV compared to before.
As of now, Garcia said they have purchased pumps, completed two regional detention facilities, and installed flat gates which have stopped the backflow of water into neighborhoods.
Garcia said the projects they plan to complete will take a while. She advises residents to be patient because they need to ensure that all money is used properly.
Garcia said she looks forward to the completion of the city’s drainage projects.