City honors its Harvey heroes

Not everyone pleased with efforts during flood

By Joe Southern

Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman, right, speaks Saturday during the Sugar Land Strong event in Town Square. Pictured with him from the left are city council members Steve Porter and Carol McCutcheon, Paula Gibson from State Sen. Lois Kolkhort’s office, council member Amy Mitchell, State Rep. Rick Miller and State Sen. Joan Huffman. (Photos by Joe Southern)

The City of Sugar Land held a Sugar Land Strong event Saturday at Town Square to honor first responders and those who rose to the occasion during the flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

The sparsely attended celebration was hastily organized but still afforded the opportunity for city leaders to thank those whose heroic efforts helped save lives and property during the storm. Mayor Joe Zimmerman and City Manager Allen Bogard each spoke at a brief ceremony to pay tribute to Sugar Land’s heroes.

Among the elected officials joining them were city council members Steve Porter, Amy Mitchell and Carol McCutcheon, State Rep. Rick Miller, State Sen. Joan Huffman, and a representative for State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst. Joining them were assistant city managers Steve Griffith, Jennifer May and Chris Steubing.

Linden Hudson, 68, was not among those paying tribute at Town Square. He is among those who are upset with the city because his home flooded. The self-described hermit refused to leave his home in Settlers Way during the Harvey flood and spent the days following the storm ripping out wet sheetrock and removing other damaged property. When he wasn’t working, he was blistering officials with the city and Levee Improvement District No. 2 with angry emails – something he now regrets doing.

He said he was angry and frustrated because he felt his neighborhood should not have flooded.

“The flood two years ago was up to my door,” he said. “They knew there was a problem. Sugar Land knows there is a problem here.”

Three inches of water came into Hudson’s home. Rather than evacuate, he stayed and fought to salvage as many of his belongings as he could.

As soon as the water receded, he immediately set out to begin the cleaning and recovery process.

According to city spokesman Doug Adolph, there was not much the city could do given that anywhere from 30-50 inches of rain fell on the region during the hurricane.

Linden Hudson sits in his living room which is in disarray as he works to rebuild his home after it was flooded during Hurricane Harvey. (Photo by Joe Southern)

“The flooding occurred after the levee improvement districts closed their flood gates as protection from the Brazos River,” he said. “Many storm water storage facilities were full due to historic rainfall from the hurricane. When the gates close, LIDs begin operating pumps to remove water inside the levees. The pumps can handle a certain amount of rainfall. The intensity and duration of continued rainfall exceeded the pumps capacity in some cases.”

With approximately 22 percent of Fort Bend County flooded, communities along the Brazos and Colorado rivers suffered the most, including Wharton, Simonton, Rosenberg, Sugar Land and Missouri City.

On the east side of the county, Missouri City was hardest hit.

“Lake Olympia, Quail Valley and Riverstone endured the most impacts from flooding during Harvey,” said city spokesman Cory Stottlemyer. “The areas impacted by our two tornados were the Quail Green West, Hunters Green, Fieldcrest, Woodland West and Glen Park subdivisions, as well as businesses along the Texas Parkway corridor, including the Wells Fargo Building where a number of our state and federally elected officials have local offices.

“Citywide, we estimate 200 to 400 hundred homes were damaged in our city limits. Including our extraterritorial jurisdictions, we estimate far more than 1,000 homes were damaged. We estimate around 50 businesses were damaged in Missouri City.”

Harvey Disaster Recovery Workshop

Rep. Pete Olson will host a Harvey Disaster Recovery Workshop in Missouri City from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29, at the Fort Bend YMCA. The workshop will include representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The Fort Bend YMCA is located at 4433 Cartwright Road, Missouri City. For more information, call 281-494-2690.


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