Sherman presents flood protection plan

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SHERMAN, TX-Sherman residents affected by the 2007 flooding gathered at city hall Tuesday night as city officials presented their flood protection plan along with their findings on the Post Oak Creek Watershed study.

The flood protection plan is a series of of 33 projects that resulted from the findings of the Post Oak Creek Watershed study surveying the 50 mile stretch of Post Oak Creek. Tuesday, I spoke with residents who were affected by the big flood in 2007 telling us what they think about the proposed plans.

Ernestine Harrell said much of her property was damaged during the flooding of 2007.

"My home, or my yard, has flooded and come up my garage door in 2007," she said.

Another resident, John Robinson said his property backs up to No Name Creek and every time it rains, it causes erosion of his land.

"The whole creek fills up and fortunately my house is high enough from the creek that there's no impact on to the structure itself, there are a lot of people's homes that are lower and so they've had a lot of flooding in their backyard," he said.

Harrell and Robinson were among a dozen people at Tuesday night's meeting as Sherman city officials presented their flood protection plan for the Post Oak Creek Watershed. City Engineer, Clay Barnett said they started the study a little over three years ago.

"In 2009 when we were putting together the comprehensive plan, the 2007 flood, which is very significant in Sherman was in the forefront of a lot of people's minds," he said.

Several plans were presented, including channel improvements and updated drainage design.

"The most productive one is creating some more regional detention facilities that hold the water from going into the streams and the creeks in the first place and that just allows less water to travel through the creeks at one point at time," said Barnett.

Barnett said they are still trying to figure out how to pay for the $54-million project.

"One of the options we're looking at is the storm water utility fee which is basically a way of equitably sharing the amount of cost for these improvements based upon how much you're contributing to the problem," said Barnett.

But both Harrell and Robinson say the expense is necessary.

"I lost so much value in the property that an increase in fees to offset value loss will be worth it," said Harrell.

"You can't measure that in terms of dollars and cents, but if it protects life and property, then it's important for us to spend the money to do it right," said Robinson.

Barnett said the city is also applying for grants or additional city utility fees to help pay for the project. Once the funding plan has been determined, it will go before city council for approval this summer.