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Edinburg’s Flood Mitigation Efforts Move into High Gear with Doolittle Detention Pond Project

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"Edinburg's Bold Step Forward: The Launch of the Doolittle Detention Pond Project for Enhanced Flood Management" - In an emblematic groundbreaking ceremony at Freddy Gonzalez Park, Mayor Ramiro Garza, points at Doolittle Pond as it stands today. Image by Roberto Hugo González
“Edinburg’s Bold Step Forward: The Launch of the Doolittle Detention Pond Project for Enhanced Flood Management” – In an emblematic groundbreaking ceremony at Freddy Gonzalez Park, Mayor Ramiro Garza, points at Doolittle Pond as it stands today. Image by Roberto Hugo González
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By Roberto Hugo González

During a ribbon-cutting gathering at Freddy Gonzalez Park, Edinburg City Mayor Ramiro Garza, alongside city council members and community leaders, announced the commencement of a critical infrastructure project to revolutionize the city’s approach to flood management. This project marked the beginning of an ambitious endeavor that will enhance the well-being and safety of its residents.

Groundbreaking ceremony. Image by Roberto Hugo González

Mayor Garza, expressing his gratitude for the effort of everyone involved, highlighted the instrumental roles played by the Edinburg City Council, including Mayor Pro Tem Dan Diaz, Council member Jason De Leon, and, in absentia, David White and David Salazar. The mayor also acknowledged the contributions of former council member Johnny Garcia and Hidalgo County commissioner Ellie Torres, emphasizing the project’s roots in community and intergovernmental cooperation.

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Pictured Jason De Leon Councilmember Place 2: Ramiro Garza Jr. Edinburg Mayor: Ellie Torres, Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Commissioner: Daniel ‘Dan’ Diaz, Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem. Image by Roberto Hugo González

The Doolittle Detention Pond, named for its strategic placement and historical background, is Edinburg’s proactive stance on urban planning, benefitting hundreds of families residing on the city’s east side. Stretching from Closner to Raul Longoria and north to 107, the project is designed to mitigate flooding through enhanced drainage capacity and integrating significant infrastructural improvements at Freddy Gonzalez Road.

Mayor Ramiro Garza

The undertaking is part of a broader vision funded by a bond issued years ago, with the detention pond alone commanding a budget of $7 million, generously allocated by the city’s residents. This financial investment will add crucial detention volume and expand the storm sewer system’s capacity to manage water flow effectively.

Benefitting over 76 acres of residential area, the project includes installing 8,500 linear feet of storm drainage pipes, a move that Mayor Garza assures will have a “lasting impact” on the city’s drainage capability. In addition to the Doolittle Detention Pond, the initiative includes two other critical projects: the Schunior and Chapin Detention Ponds, each contributing to a comprehensive strategy to bolster Edinburg’s resilience against flooding.

Acknowledging the inconveniences that construction may pose, Mayor Garza called for patience from the residents and introduced several measures to keep the community informed. Among these, neighborhood meetings and the dissemination of flyers stand out as direct communication channels. Moreover, the mayor encouraged residents to utilize the city’s website, which features a dashboard complete with a GIS map, project timelines, and photographic updates of the ongoing work.

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Mardoqueo Hinojosa

As the city of Edinburg steps into this significant development phase, the Doolittle Detention Pond project represents more than just an infrastructural upgrade—it symbolizes a collective stride towards safeguarding the community, enhancing environmental sustainability, and ensuring peace of mind for all residents. With this groundbreaking initiative, Edinburg addresses immediate concerns and lays the groundwork for a future where the city stands firm in the face of natural challenges.

As Edinburg’s ambitious flood mitigation project progresses, the spotlight turns to the detailed execution phase, spearheaded by the city’s engineering department under the guidance of Director Mardoqueo Hinojosa. Addressing the community with a blend of optimism and realism, Mr. Hinojosa explained the intricate journey ahead, promising enhanced safety and infrastructure for the residents of Edinburg.

“Good morning, everyone. It’s a pleasure to be here today to discuss another vital project for our city,” began Hinojosa, emphasizing the project’s significance and the anticipated benefits for the community. The Doolittle Detention Pond project, described as a complex but crucial endeavor, is set to unfold over 540 calendar days. This timeline underscores the project’s extensive scope and the meticulous planning required to minimize disruption to the city’s daily life.

Hinojosa elaborated on the project’s phased approach, which was designed to ensure minimal inconvenience to residents. The initial focus will be enhancing the detention pond behind the gathering, aiming to increase its volume and efficiency. “The intent is for this pond always to remain dry, acting as a crucial buffer during heavy rainfall,” Hinojosa explained, highlighting the project’s core objective of mitigating flood risk.

A significant challenge identified by Hinojosa involves the central crossing at Veterans Blvd. and Freddy Gonzalez, necessitating temporary street closures. “We aim to execute this phase during the summer months to coincide with school holidays, thereby reducing its impact on daily traffic,” Hinojosa stated, acknowledging the inconvenience but stressing the long-term benefits.

The project also includes the installation of 68 inlets to facilitate efficient water drainage, complementing the over 8,500 linear feet of piping that range from 18 to 48 inches in diameter. This infrastructure upgrade represents a substantial improvement in the city’s capacity to manage stormwater.

Hinojosa mentioned that this project is part of a series of initiatives to enhance Edinburg’s drainage system. “This is the third project in the area, with another significant undertaking on the horizon in collaboration with Commissioner Ellie Torres and TxDot,” he added, pointing to the comprehensive strategy being deployed to address flood mitigation.

The engineering director concluded by emphasizing the importance of patience and cooperation from the community. “This project will inevitably affect traffic patterns and daily routines, but the outcome will significantly reduce the risk of flooding, protecting homes and lives,” Hinojosa reassured.

With a clear plan and commitment to keeping the community informed and engaged, Edinburg’s Doolittle Detention Pond project represents a critical step forward in the city’s ongoing efforts to enhance safety and infrastructure resilience.

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