Seguin Braces For Economic Impact To Come After Lakes Along Guadalupe Are Drained
The economic fallout from a decision by the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority to dewater four area lakes has yet to begin, but members of the business community predict a serious blow.
GBRA officials said they know it will be hard economically on the communities on the lakes.
But the possibility of seeing more floodgates collapse, like those at Lakes Wood and Dunlap, has to be prevented. The GBRA said lives and property are at stake.
That’s why on Sept. 16, the drainings will begin, starting with Lake Gonzales and then moving north to each lake every three days to do the same.
The authority reports the Guadalupe River will still flow through them all, and some will hold a little extra water at times.
But they will be less attractive to many visitors, would-be residents and business prospects looking for a new home, according to some business community leaders.
Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce President Kendy Gravett says Lake McQueeney, Lake Placid and Meadow Lake have become a big part of the area's identity.
"They look at what is there to do in town, 'How does it look? What's interesting?' And the lake has always been a part of that draw," Gravett said.
The lakes draw property owners and tourists and support many businesses, including lodges, gas stations, restaurants, bait shops, boat repair shops.
Hilda Balderas started her Mexican food restaurant, Pica Taco, on Lake McQueeney 20 years ago. Her daughter, Rosanna, has been at her side.
Rosanna, translating for her mom, said her mom worries about the loss of jobs and diners in the area. She worries if the dams will ever be the same since the GBRA has no plans to repair them all by itself.
"She does not know how they could fix that and how much it would take and maybe this is just something of the beginning of a like a really hard time to come, to struggle, really," she said.
Balderas hopes neighbors can help neighbors get through in the months and years to come.
Some locals estimate school tax revenue will also take a hit as lake property appraisals drop by as much as half.
The City of Seguin said there is little it can do and has a hard enough time keeping up with the city's cost of maintenance and public safety.
Residents on the lakes are looking at alternatives for funding new floodgates of their own, including the creation of water control districts to help pay for the costs.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story used the incorrect name for Hilda Balderas' daughter. Her name is Rosanna Balderas.