Friendswood applying for grant for $78 million drainage project

(Community Impact staff)
(Community Impact staff)

(Community Impact staff)

Friendswood city staff is in the process of applying for a grant for a $78 million drainage project officials said would benefit at least 4,100 residents.

Applications are due Oct. 28 for cities to apply for Community Development Block Grant Mitigation Program grants. After analyzing the city's drainage needs, staff came up with one project with several components that could be eligible for the for the grant, engineering Deputy Director Samantha Haritos said at Friendswood City Council's Sept. 14 meeting.

The project improvements include drainage improvements along around the southwest quadrant of the intersection of Bay Area Boulevard and East Parkwood Drive. Already three detention ponds exist in this area that drain into each other before flowing into Clear Creek, but the project would include combining the three basins to create more capacity and improve drainage, Haritos said.

Additionally, the project would include creating 2,000 acre-feet of offline detention. Benefits include reducing river flooding and tropical storm impacts to benefit at least 4,130 residents, Haritos said.

"The system really all works together," she said.

If Friendswood would be awarded the full $78.15 million grant for the project, it could take up to a year to receive the money, and the city would have to front a $789,000 match, Haritos said.

"That's a pretty good bang for your buck," she said.

Residents with questions or comments about the project can email, Haritos said.

Drainage updates

Haritos shared updates on other drainage projects in the city as well.

Consulting firm Freese and Nichols is still at work on the Lower Clear Creek and Dickinson Bayou Watershed Study, which is an analysis of the regional flooding projects needed along in the Clear Creek and Dickinson Bayou watersheds. Stakeholders in the study had a meeting July 24 to determine what criteria should be considered besides cost and benefit when deciding what projects to prioritize, Haritos said.

The length of the study runs from Dixie Farm Road to Clear Lake. In the Friendswood area, there are 13 potential drainage alternatives the study is examining, Haritos said.

"That’s really more than any other area," she said. "If we can help divert some of the flow or relieve some of the flooding up in this area, that’s gonna help translate all the way down. We’re very excited to see what’s gonna come out of that study.”

The next public meeting on the study, which Haritos said could become federal projects, is tentatively planned for Nov. 4 with study completion expected in February. To learn more, visit

The city has received CDBG funding for other drainage projects.

Friendswood has received $3.45 million for detention work in the Forest Bend neighborhood. The city plans to install a detention pond with meandering trails and solar lighting through and around the area, Haritos said.

The project will be designed through May 2021, after which the project will be go to bid for construction to begin, she said.

Additionally, the city received $2.69 million to acquire properties in the Frenchman's Creek and Deepwood neighborhoods. The city and Galveston County plan to acquire structures near Clear Creek and turn them into a park with potential flood control structures in Frenchman's Creek and turn structures into a terraced area to mitigate drainage in Deepwood, Haritos said.

Finally, the city received $2.76 million to relocate three water and sewer lines near the Blackwater Wastewater Treatment plant under the Clear Creek channel. Part of that grant will also fund terracing the Deepwood properties, Haritos said.

In all, that is about $9 million in grants toward drainage-related projects, and the city will pay about $25,000 for the work, Haritos said.

"It's awesome," she said. "Amazing."

Drainage work in the Imperial Estates neighborhood is about 55% done. So far, Friendswood has paid $5.5 million for the work, and the Galveston County Consolidated Drainage District has paid $5.1 million, Haritos said.

City Manager Morad Kabiri said the $5.1 million the drainage district paid is not the end amount; when the project is done, the drainage district will have paid about $10 million for the $14 million-$16 million worth of work.
By Jake Magee
Jake Magee has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper.


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