Cash for Kashmere Gardens

CASH FOR KASHMERE GARDENS A few residents of Kashmere Gardens are fighting Harris County Flood Control District plans to buy and demolish 40 homes in the upper Fifth Ward neighborhood: “The $175 million Project Hunting will widen and deepen a half-mile stretch of the bayou and create a 75-acre stormwater detention basin. The district plan purports to remove 5,000 homes from a 100-year flood plain. The engineer-speak means those homes currently face a 1 percent chance of flooding each year. The 1 percent happened to at least some neighborhood homes during Allison and Hurricane Ike. It also happened, according to district information, in 1979. And 1980. Again in 1983. And again in 1989, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2006 and 2007. But a group of holdouts does not believe that. Their homes flooded only during Allison, they said. The real numbers the district is acting on have dollar signs in front of them, residents said. Houses in their neighborhood can sell for as little as $30,000. ‘(The district) wants to go cheap because they consider Kashmere Gardens as poor, poor people,’ neighborhood resident Deborah Butler said. District officials insist the buyouts are about protecting residents, not cutting corners.” [Houston Chronicle; map]

4 Comment

  • Nothing is happening here that doesn’t happen in any other large HCFCD/USACE flood damage reduction project.

    What about Inwood Forest? Large buyouts occurred there in recent years for a similar project?

    The choice of whether to buy out homes comes out of a cost/benefit analysis. It’s much cheaper to buy these properties out versus build flood improvements to protect them.

  • One would be encouraged to “follow the money” here. Something doesn’t seem right.

  • If Federal money is used to buy the lot, they can never be used anything else. If HCFCD purchases the lots, they are typically held as HCFCD right-of-way or turned over to Harris County to become park land. There are a lot of restrictions on what can be done with property in a buyout.

    A developer won’t be able to come in and buy the property on the cheap and rebuild.

    I too would be suspicious, but working with HCFCD and watching existing projects go through this process, these properties will either be detention or returned to it’s natural state as much as possible.

  • I don’t suspect it’s a developer. Kashmere is not gentrifying yet, at least not enough to spur massive redevelopment (in my opinion). Who is downstream that will benefit and would be in a position to push/promote this?