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Bexar County Approves $5.5 Million To Help Flooded Espada Residents

San Antonio River Authority

It’s been more than two months since the flood, and the process of recovery in the Espada area is moving forward slowly. The San Antonio River Authority has offered residents a few options, but so far no action has been taken.

SARA is offering Espada residents three options: A direct buyout, an option to remain on the property and rebuild their homes to flood standards, or Bexar County will buy a flood easement where owners would retain their property for agricultural purposes but live elsewhere.

Espada homeowner Celia Olivarez told the Bexar County Commissioners Court that communication from SARA and Precinct 1 Commissioner Chico Rodriguez has been sparse, and the residents are discouraged and tired of waiting.

"How much more do you think we can endure," Olivarez said. "And then to be slapped in the face in the end by taking what everybody -- our ancestors -- have worked for. You have your different things, you have history that you want preserved. So do we."                             

Olivarez again told the court that the river flooded their properties because of improvements on the Mission Reach. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said SARA and the Army Corps of Engineers need to more specifically demonstrate to the residents the cause of the flooding.   

"This court funded a large part of it (the Mission Reach) and we advanced money to the Corps to do it. And we know it was built to certain flood standards, but y'all (the Army Corp of Engineers and SARA) are the experts. Y'all are the ones that are going to have to try to solve that issue and try to articulate your position (to the Espada residents)," Wolff said.

The $5.5 million SARA asked for from the county includes relocation assistance to the residents who decide to move.

SARA said it could make some offers to homeowners as soon as next week after appraisals are complete, but engineers may need more time to assess costs for those residents who want to rebuild.