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Flooded Espada Residents Given A Ray of Hope

San Antonio River Authority

Bexar County Commissioners are hoping to offer some options very soon to flooded property owners in the Espada area.

The court promised the residents it would do whatever it could to make things right:

Espada neighborhood residents spoke emotionally at commissioners’ court Tuesday, explaining that they were left homeless by the May 25th flood.

Resident Gloria Garza told the court through her tears, "Excuse me if I sound harsh, but we're in great mourning for a tremendous loss."

Garza said her family’s homes have been there for generations and nothing like this ever happened before.

"The river was widened along the Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan, and even the Espada mission river area. Then it abruptly stopped immediately behind our house. It bottlenecked and was dammed by all the beautification debris," Garza said.

But Suzanne Scott of the San Antonio River Authority said SARA has been working on the Espada problem since the day of the flood, and that could not have happened.

"We have looked at that upside-down," Scott said. "Honestly, from the River Authority's perspective, if we truly saw that the Mission reach project caused more flooding in an area, we would, as an integrity organization, we would admit that and bring that forward," she said.

Scott said simulations were shown to county commissioners right after the flood, demonstrating the result of waters feeding into the San Antonio River from tributaries like Medina Creek and others.

County Judge Nelson Wolff says the county in some previous floods have offered to buy out residents, but he hopes a different solution can be found in this case because of the historical significance of the property owned by the Espada residents.

"You know, they trace their lineage back to several generations that have lived there, their mothers and fathers and their grandparents. So this is a unique situation and we're trying to figure out a way to handle it in a different way than we have others," Wolff said. 

The Army Corps of Engineers is also on the case, and Wolff hopes for report in the next few of days that will reveal options they may not have thought of yet.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.