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Corps Of Engineers Clears Mission Reach As Cause Of Espada Neighborhood Flooding

San Antonio River Authority

The San Antonio River Authority’s real estate team is meeting with residents of the Espada neighborhood that was flooded during the torrential rainstorm in late May. Bexar County Commissioners are hoping there is something they can do to help the residents get re-settled.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' report released this week found that the Mission Reach Project did not cause the devastating flood that poured four feet of water into some of the homes of the Espada neighborhood.

Suzanne Scott, executive director of the San Antonio River Authority, said the May 25 storm damage came from both water that rushed down the San Antonio River, as well as the heavy rain that fell all over town, including below the Olmos Basin.

"The Corps of Engineers designed the San Antonio Channel Improvements Project based on the 1946 flood event, which at the time was the historic flood event for this area," Scott said. "The Mission Reach Project that came in after that was designed to maintain the flood protection that was there from the 1946 design."

Commissioners received a report last week from SARA showing three basic options for the residents:

  1. A flood easement, which would allow homeowners to retain titled ownership and live in their homes, but they may be required to elevate them.
  2. If homeowners don’t want to live there, the county would compensate them to relocate and the property owners could continue to use their land for agriculture.
  3. The last option is a standard buy-out.

SARA staff is expected to report back to Scott with the residents’ feedback, so that some recommendations and cost estimates can be referred to county commissioners by August 1.

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.