HOUSTON (KIAH) – The City of Houston broke ground on the recent Major Flood Mitigation Project. Mayor Sylvester Turner joined the Texas Division of Emergency Management, FEMA, and the Houston Parks Board for the official groundbreaking of the Inwood Forest Stormwater Detention Basin project Tuesday.

Mayor Sylvester Turner, Texas Division of Emergency Management, FEMA, and the Houston Parks Board at Inwood Forest Stormwater Detention Basin project. (Courtesy of the City of Houston)

The city bought the Inwood Forest Golf Course in 2011 to revitalize and convert the facility into regional flood water detention. Mayor Turner says the Inwood project could save or reduce flood damage to over 4,400 structures in the White Oak Bayou and Vogel Creek watersheds. That area was completely under water when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017. Flood water continues to be a risk to the city until concrete solutions are in place. “The city of Houston can no longer wait,” says Mayor Turner. “In the past seven years, the City has experienced seven federally declared disasters, and as we are all aware, storms are coming with more frequency and intensity,” the Mayor added.

Research shows that due to future flood damage reduction, every dollar invested in hazard mitigation saves six dollars in recovery expenses. Due to the urgency, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) awarded hazard mitigation funds to four projects in the City of Houston, with Inwood Forest being the first project to reach the construction phase. An estimated $80 million, along with local funds from the city and county will help to complete the conversion of the golf course into regional detention. Residential and commercial structures will see the effects of future flood damage reduction once the project is complete. Harris County Flood Control District will manage the project on behalf of the city.

A construction contract of over $70 million was approved with All Good Construction Company to get the job done. Mayor Turner asked the Houston Parks Board to come up with amenities to incorporate in the project. Their plan hopes to include miles of trails, pedestrian bridges, disc golf, and significant landscaping that will be funded by private and other donations. The project is scheduled to be completed in two-and-a-half years.