By Grayson Kirkham
The City of San Marcos has received 25 million dollars in federal relief funds for recent flood damages and could be in the running for more.
Federal relief money received by San Marcos from the Department of Housing and Urban Development is intended to help prevent and minimize future flooding damage. City leaders made a trip to Washington, D.C. earlier this month to discuss flood relief progress with federal agencies.
In D.C., San Marcos officials met with the Natural Resources Conservation Services. The agency had 157 million dollars set aside to be used for all projects, but had 27 million dollars remaining after completing work on previous commitments. The city of San Marcos’ application to receive this relief money is currently under review.
Meanwhile, citizens of San Marcos are still coping with the damage from May flooding. Resident Ed Maling had two storage lockers located on River Road that were flooded last Memorial Day, destroying most of his belongings.
“I had gone through a divorce about a year before that,” Maling said. “So I put all my stuff into a storage unit there on River Road, and shortly after that my mother died. So, I packed up her apartment and rented another storage unit in the same place.”
The two storage units measured 10 by 20 feet and were stacked to the ceiling with belongings. Items kept in those units included valuable antiques and family keepsakes. There were also several important heirlooms and books in the units.
His father had just been put into assisted living, and with the help of his siblings, Maling cleared his dad’s house of all items of emotional importance to the family and put it into the second storage unit.
“A lot of it was family heirlooms,” Maling said. “Some of it was stuff that had gone around Cape Horn on sailing ships out to California. There was really old, antique furniture, a lot of books; some of them my mother had written. She wrote four books on genealogy and all of her research, papers, all of that went.”
Maling says the situation makes him wonder where his origin went. He said the only thing that remained of his childhood memories was contaminated with mud and sewage.
“It really rips apart your past,” Maling said. “You can’t bring out those keepsakes and look at them ever again because they’re a pile of trash.”
Maling said it was a huge mistake to build new apartments at Cape’s Camp. He said he thinks the Army Corps of Engineers needs to re-look at what remains in the flood plain and condemn the houses in the Blanco Gardens neighborhood to prevent future disasters.
Despite what he’s lost, Maling is still able to see some humor in his situation.
“I guess the lesson, I suppose, is never rent a storage unit at a place called River Road.”
The Natural Resources Conservation Services won’t repair other agency’s dams due to liability issues. They also aren’t allowed to replace dams. According to KHOU, San Marcos officials have strict federal guidelines to follow, before they can receive any HUD money.