It is easy to get discouraged when flood waters destroy thousands of homes, close businesses and turn lives upside down. And for those who lost everything – like our own Robert Rayburn, the Energy Corridor District’s longtime landscape architect – our hearts hang heavy with untold sadness.
But when we see the enthusiastic resilience of Energy Corridor denizens, employees and business owners – coupled with a renewed passion among elected officials for reducing future flood damage – we can also feel hope.
It may be trite to say adversity makes us stronger. Instead, could it simply be faith in the resourcefulness, compassion and energy of our community?
There is just no way to describe the pain of enduring 39 inches of rain that pounded the Energy Corridor, nor the floodwaters from Addicks and Barker reservoirs that ruined homes, apartments, churches and businesses, spilled untreated sewage, cut electrical power and choked off access to loved ones by closing every single major thoroughfare.
And yet …
As our Energy Corridor District staff continues to work – remotely, while flood repairs are made to our office – we feel more focused than ever before on making this place special. On creating the place envisioned in our master plan. A vision that creates more parks. Safer places to walk and bike. Better transportation options. Popular community destinations. Watchful public security. And more beautiful streetscapes.
Obviously, there is a lot of work ahead. But, inspired by the thousands and thousands who endured Harvey only to begin rebuilding their lives, we are committed to making things better.
We’ve begun by meeting with businesses in the District daily, exploring ways to help them regain their customers. The District Board of Directors is considering a Harvey impact study that we hope could be a guidepost to those in charge of mitigating flooding. And we’re preparing different urban planning scenarios for future development in the Energy Corridor, building on a process that began this past summer.
We still haven’t lost sight of our efforts to create alternative transportation initiatives through telework, transit, carpool, vanpool, walking, biking and a better-connected community. The District is continuing this year’s work that Harvey interrupted: planning for suburb-to-suburb transit and first-mile/last-mile circulators; seeking traffic congestion solutions; building trails and footbridges to connect homes to work near the dams; and now exploring ways to avoid potential road closures in Addicks Reservoir, while advocating for flood mitigation projects.
If you need help or want to help, check out the District’s comprehensive Resource Guide here, where you can find sources for government assistance, ways to volunteer or donate money, and answers to transportation challenges.
Through it all, there is something more powerful and tangible than hope. It is seeing our community come together to help one another. To solve problems. It is a force that makes this place special, indeed.
Stay Energy Corridor strong.
Executive Director, Energy Corridor District