The Kingwood Service Association (KSA) Parks Committee had only one item of business on its Oct. 5 agenda: approval of a request for another $200,000 above the original $200,000 approved in September immediately following Hurricane Harvey.
This brings the total money appropriated for park recovery up to $400,000. The money will come out of the KSA Capital Asset Reserve Fund which is currently adequately funded to cover the total emergency appropriations requested. Approval is expected at the next KSA meeting Oct. 19.
Dee Price, of Sand Creek, summed up the overall situation before the unanimous vote for approval.
“This event was absolutely more devastating than we realized or expected. I don’t expect we will have this park [River Grove Park] open for two or three months,” said Price.
The other two parks most affected are East End Park and Deer Ridge Park. East End Park suffered extensive damage and parts of it will remain closed until they are restored to a safe condition. Deer Ridge was the least impacted of the three and is now open even though recovery work is still ongoing.
Price explained that the additional funding was based on extensive inspections, including actual bids for some but not all of the work that is still being estimated and defined.
“This is a very high-level estimate, but I feel completely comfortable for purposes of appropriation. I came up with an estimate of $350,000; $170,000 at River Grove, $150,000 at East End, and $30,000 at Deer Ridge,” Price said to the committee.
Price explained that the original request of $200,000 approved in September and this $200,000 would likely cover everything, including the Creekwood Nature Area which had not yet been evaluated in detail.
Bob Rehak, of Kings Forest, asked about any dredging requirements for the boat dock area of River Grove Park.
Price said, “That’s not in the money.” She explained that they had obtained aerial photos that show the channel into the boat dock area to be completely closed off and a sandbar has moved all the way across the area to touch the land.
“Based on our photos, even if we dredged our channel we are not sure boats will be able to get into the river,” Price said. She explained that they will have to work with the San Jacinto River Authority in deciding what they can do.
“We must determine what is expected to happen to the main channel of the San Jacinto River and that is unknown,” said Price.
In the discussion that followed, concern was expressed about the possibility of having to dredge the access channel twice or on a frequent basis. In addition, if dredging directly into the main river channel was necessary, would the San Jacinto River Authority even permit it and possibly assist with that activity? Price reiterated that those were the issues that prevented making any decisions about dredging at this time.
The next KSA Parks meeting will be Thursday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. at the South Woodland Hills Community Room, 2030 Shadow Rock Dr. The public is invited to attend.