HOUSTON - Brickhouse Gully is finally getting some much needed repairs due to the combined effort of many concerned neighbors. Construction has started to repair the crumbling tributary to White Oak Bayou, but much more will be needed to solve the ongoing problems that have been a burden on the homeowners that live in the surrounding neighborhoods.
“It’s amazing what can happen when neighbors work together with local leaders to make things happen and improve our local quality of life,” said Rep. Dwayne Bohac after hearing that the project was moving forward. “This is the right thing to do for the community.”
Brickhouse Gully has been plagued with a number of structural and design issues that have been identified as a result of excessive rainfall and the flooding experienced during Tropical Storm Allison. Trash and debris have also been a problem, with everything from grocery carts to a motorized scooter clogging up this vital waterway and threatening to cause more flooding.
This first phase of the process will involve repairing the damaged concrete sides and base that are crumbling and blocking the flow of water that leads to the bayou. A number of civic leaders have led an effective grassroots campaign to bring this issue to the table and deserve a tremendous amount of recognition for their hard work in this effort. They include:
- Janice Gabriel, President, Mangum Manor Civic Club
- Lindsey Lee, President, Oak Forest Homeowner's Association
- Fred Lazare, President, White Oak Bayou Association
- Jim Mackey, Vice-President, White Oak Bayou Association
- Debbie Harlow, Director, Antoine Beautification Campaign
- Deby Dalyrymple, President, Covered Bridge Condominiums Homeowner's Association
State Representative Dwayne Bohac has been very concerned about the Brickhouse Gully situation and its impact on his constituents. “This is an important first step to addressing the concerns of the community. We must repair the existing structure, but serious design problems remain that need to be addressed to bring Brickhouse Gully up to the capacity needed to handle the growing neighborhoods that depend upon it. After we get through this first phase, let’s move on phases two and three and ‘get the water moving again’.”
Wes Kruger, Mangum Manor resident and local Neighborhood Liaison for Rep. Bohac, has been working with Clay Haynes, Senior Project Coordinator of the Harris County Flood Control District. The HCFCD placed the concrete slope paving project at Mangum within an existing contract the District currently has with a private contractor. The contractor moved on-site on February 3rd and as of the start date, the project should be complete within four to six weeks.
Phase two, the maintenance project to repair the concrete slope paving further downstream along Brickhouse Gully between Watonga and White Oak Bayou, will begin later this year sometime in the third or fourth quarter of 2003.
Many residents of the area are still pushing for a third phase that would redesign the entire tributary. Proposed solutions include improved regular maintenance, widening the gully, construction of holding ponds and reexamining the use of concrete in the channel.
"Future projects will hopefully involve a redesign that will allow the tributary to carry more water away more quickly" said Bohac. "Problems of flooding have been exacerbated due to greater construction upstream that is now feeding into a channel that was never designed to handle it."
Illegal dumping is also being addressed, thanks in large part to the efforts of Mangum Manor Civic Club President Janice Gabriel. “I consider the dumping of grocery carts and other debris into Brickhouse Gully a serious flood issue, because this debris causes water to back up in the gully. I have worked with Kim Ogg, director of Crime Stoppers, to develop and distribute reward posters offering up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone illegally dumping into Brickhouse Gully. The posters are now being made by Crime Stoppers and will be distributed soon.”
Brickhouse Gully starts near Gessner and Clay Road and runs east between Clay (43rd Street) and Kempwood (34th Street) until it intersects White Oak Bayou in the Watonga/Mangum area. The flooding has been along Saxon and Chantilly at Costa Rica in the Scarborough High School area.