Conroe, November 30 – A lively crowd of Precinct 4 residents, mostly from the Allendale neighborhood and from River Oaks Drive, expressed enormous gratitude and excitement when Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark announced that, with the assistance of Montgomery County Community Development Director Dr. Joanne Ducharme, he has located $3 million of federal community development grant funds for drainage and flood mitigation capital improvements. Clark and Ducharme conducted a formal public hearing on the proposed grants during the evening of Tuesday, November 28, 2017, at the Lone Star Convention Center.
$1.2 million of flood mitigation grant funds will go to the River Oaks Drive capital improvements, while $1.8 million of the funds will go to the Allendale-Greenbough neighborhood.
Several individuals asked why it took so long for the Montgomery County government to find money to complete the projects in the two neighborhoods. Clark explained that the County did not have the funds available for the expensive flood mitigation required in both neighborhoods. “This $3 million of money is for the Memorial Day flood and the Tax Day flood in 2016. I have to balance the taxpayers’ interests with the need to find some money, so I was able to shake some money out of the federal government for these two important projects in Allendale and River Oaks,” Clark said.
“I wish we could’ve done something a long time ago to take care of these problems, but the government money just wasn’t available. River Oaks has been collapsing and decaying since the 1980s even back when it was part of Commissioners Precinct 2. The Allendale problem is more recent,” Clark explained.
The Allendale neighborhood is southwest of the intersection of State Highway 242 and F.M. 1314 of Conroe Porter Road. The homeowners of the Allendale-Greenbough area began to complain to the Commissioner have complained about Jesse Gonzalez, the owner of Thunder Gun Range at 17234 FM 1314, because, both the neighbors and Commissioner Clark have alleged, he has covered up area creeks behind their homes with his monster earth moving tractors.
By diverting the natural flow of drainage, as community leader Paul Crowson and the other residents alleged, Gonzalez has caused homes to flood for the first time during these past two years when they had not flooded for decades previously. Every time there’s a hard rain, these homeowners face massive erosion of their properties and water damage to their homes, as both the homeowners and county officials have acknowledged. The neighborhood flooded at least twice during 2016 and also during the Harvey storm at the end of August, 2017.
River Oaks Drive is an older neighborhood located northeast of the intersection of SH 242 and Interstate 45. The large street is immediately to the south of the Town of Woodloch. The street has major drainage problems because erosion and settling have damaged the culverts and ditches originally installed there. The homes are near the San Jacinto River and experienced severe flooding during Tropical Storm Harvey.
“I’m just relieved that we’ve found some funds to take care of two of the most severe drainage problems in my Commissioners Precinct,” Clark told the crowd. “It’s exciting that we’re moving forward to procure these funds,” Ducharme added.
Clark and Ducharme anticipate that the funds should available for the commencement of construction within approximately eight (8) months.