The park scheduled for completion in the summer of 2014 on the west end of Graham is firmly bound in government red tape reaching back into the 1950s, and more delays are currently halting the project.
Public Works Administrator David Casteel said a release from the United State Army Corps of Engineers is needed to allow construction of certain elements of the park to begin, such as walking trails, restrooms and a parking area. He is hoping that release will come in the next few weeks.
“We want to get started on it as soon as we get a release from the Corps,” said Casteel.
The USACE and the Brazos River Authority completed multiple studies dating back to 1954 that establish a 10-year floodplain on the west end of Graham and a plan to permanently evacuate that plain to protect the city from damaging floods such as the ones that occurred in August 1978 and again in April 1990. The subsequent damage brought to homes and businesses caused by those floods was severe.
The plan started in the late 90s, as land was bought up by the USACE and deeded to the BRA, and the Corps. demolished the structures occupying the area.
Also included in this plan was the building of recreational facilities, the restoration of native plant species, a flood warning system and the planting of native hardwoods. However, the purchase of the land in the floodplain has ended up costing the USACE more than expected and all other parts of the plan were abandoned, including construction of the recreational facilities.
Read the entire story in Saturday's Graham Leader.