As Mayor Sylvester Turner has continued to seek ways to mitigate flooding in Houston, the city laid out plans yesterday to convert the defunct Inwood Forest Golf Course into ten connected detention basins. The city expects the plan to alleviate flooding in the White Oak Bayou watershed.
The 227-acre golf course had been vacant since 2007. In 2011, city officials purchased the site for $9.3 million, and since then have spent $2.5 million on the first two basins. With City Council approval, they're now set to finish designing and developing the remaining eight basins at a cost of $20 million.
Aiding flooding in the White Oak Bayou watershed, the ten basins are slated to hold 350 million gallons of storm water — or the equivalent of 530 Olympic pools, which is more water than the Astrodome could hold, city officials said. Construction on the rest of the projects — located in the vicinity of Antoine Drive between Victory Drive and West Gulf Bank Road — will begin in 2018 and will be overseen by the flood control district.
With increasing pressure from the most deluged communities in Houston, the flood-mitigation project is among several that the city has launched this year. In January, the city unveiled a new "SWAT" team — the Storm Water Action Team — to tackle 22 flood projects throughout Houston, improving drainage projects and roadside ditches. And in February, Houston and Harris County came up with what Turner called an "imaginative" way to fast-track the long-awaited Project Brays, the widening of Brays Bayou in the perpetually flooded Meyerland area.
Still, Meyerland residents were only a little pleased. Most swarmed Turner's press conference announcing the new Project Brays funding plan with questions and skepticism shouted from behind the TV cameras. A few told the Houston Press they felt the city was not addressing underlying drainage issues, which they said appeared to be the real cause of the flooding in streets and thus their homes as the water had nowhere else to go.
Too bad they don't live behind a defunct golf course.