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Rancho Alegre retention pond already is helping ease Alice flooding

Jim Wells County Commissioner Margie Gonzalez said the pond will stop flooding from happening in the Rancho Alegre Colonia.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Alice community saw heavy rains Tuesday. 

Usually, when that happens, streets such as Esperanza -- in the Rancho Alegre area -- are knee-deep in water, but residents are hoping a new retention pond built off South Johnson Street will prevent severe flooding in the future.

Alice resident Adolfo Sanchez said the retention pond has already made noticeable flood improvements in the community.

"I'll tell you one thing we ain't getting any flooding no more," he said. "It's been really good. This thing has really helped us."

City, county and state officials present said Wednesday's ribbon-cutting, which was just down the street from the Jim Wells County Fairgrounds, was eight years in the making.

The pond was build with funding from a new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant, and was specifically built to help Rancho Alegre, officials said.

Flooding in 2015 helped the county to eventually secure a grant for nearly $900,000 to buy the property and build the retention pond.

"We are going to build five more ponds," Jim Wells County Commissioner Margie Gonzalez said. "It was supposed to be six, but we're gonna take one off and make this one bigger."

The county has received another $9.8 million grant to do that work, ensuring that other colonias around the county won't have to suffer through severe flooding any longer.

"It's great," said Texas General Land Office Grant Manager Gabriela Rodriguez. "I'm very happy to see it. It's a huge accomplishment and we value our relationship with a county so we are happy to be a part of it." 

Tom Oaks Construction was the contractor on the project. The company told 3NEWS that without the pond, the nearby neighborhoods would've had 10-14 inches of water standing along their street after the Tuesday morning rain.

"This is really going to help them because I live right behind this creek, right in front of his creek, and it's really going to make a difference as you can see it's already collected, I mean it's going to be great," said Alice resident Joey Salinas.

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