Austin Park, Chimneystone drainage improvements design contract approved

Sugar Land City Council approved a nearly $1.5 million engineering design contract for the project, which is set to begin next year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Sugar Land City Council approved a nearly $1.5 million engineering design contract for the project, which is set to begin next year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

After multiple flood incidents—including Hurricane Harvey—a project to aid in drainage for the Austin Park, Chimneystone and Settlers Grove subdivisions received funding in May. Sugar Land City Council approved a nearly $1.5 million engineering design contract for the project, which is set to begin next year.

According to Senior Engineering Manager Jorge Alba, the improvements are a response to a 2018 study that looked for solutions to issues of street ponding and structure flooding experienced by the subdivisions during Hurricane Harvey and other major storms. Most of the construction will occur along Commonwealth Boulevard and Acacia Drive between Austin Parkway and Steep Bank Creek.

Sugar Land City Engineer Jessie Li said these neighborhoods are more susceptible because they are older and have homes built on relatively lower slab elevations. When city pump stations cannot keep up with excessive rainfall, like during Harvey, these houses are often affected first, Li said.

Construction on the Settlers Grove Drainage Improvements Project is underway now, while Austin Park and Chimneystone were approved by voters to be serviced by the 2019 General Obligations Bond program.

“This also goes a long way to fulfilling the commitment that we had to Chimneystone and Austin Park after the Harvey flooding,” Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman said at the council meeting.

Fifty-three percent of the GO Bond is allocated to improving drainage, and this $47 million distribution is being used to fund nine other projects throughout the city.

“It's definitely our top one priority, along with mobility and public safety,” Li said.

According to a city of Sugar Land news release, drainage improvement is residents’ highest concern, based on the 2020 Citizen Satisfaction Survey.

With a notice to proceed issued by the city in June, the Austin Park and Chimneystone project design is expected to finish by September 2022. Construction is anticipated to begin November 2022. When finished, it will include a new storm drainage outfall into Ditch A south of Austin Park, storm drainage improvements along Acacia Drive, a nine-by-eight-foot reinforced concrete storm drain in Austin Park and a 4,900-foot concrete-lined channel east of Chimneystone.

Li said construction will affect traffic with lane closures for roads in the area.

“It's going to be difficult for people living there, going through the construction especially for this type of construction. It's very intrusive,” Li said.

Based on experience from previous projects, Li said the city is prepared to keep the public updated through means like door hangers, website postings and presentations at homeowner association meetings. Residents may be affected in ways such as loss of driveway access, changes to trash pick-up locations or mail delivery rates, according to Li.

Because these subdivisions are older, Li said they may find water lines in need of replacement during drainage construction. If this occurs, the city will give affected residents notice 48 hours ahead of their water being turned off for a few hours during the day.

The project’s $16.5 million budget for design and construction was approved for a Flood Infrastructure Fund loan through the Texas Water Development Board in May. With 0% interest on the 30-year loan, the city is estimated to save over $7.6 million.

To move forward with the contract for the Austin Park and Chimneystone drainage improvements project, the council also approved the reallocation of $258,104 from fiscal year 2022. This increased design contract cost was to account for additional services, such as an Environmental Determination and Feasibility Report, required to qualify for the state loan.


The first day of school in Fort Bend ISD is Aug. 11. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Final countdown: Here is when Fort Bend ISD students return for 2021-22 school year

Are you ready for the start of the 2021-22 school year? With just a couple weeks remaining before school starts, Fort Bend ISD students and families are counting down the final days of summer.

At just under $300 million in total, the proposed budget will be discussed through the next couple of months and will be up for approval by Sept. 21. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Proposed budget for Sugar Land includes possible $0.01 tax increase

At just under $300 million in total, the proposed budget will be discussed through the next couple of months and will be up for approval by Sept. 21.

(Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Texas Medical Center coronavirus updates: Average testing positivity rate nears 10% after sharp increase

Over 97% of people nationwide who are being hospitalized because of the disease are unvaccinated.

The Fort Bend Boys Choir of Texas has continued to meet for rehearsals and performances throughout the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Fort Bend Boys Choir of Texas)
Fort Bend Boys Choir of Texas to begin 40th anniversary season Aug. 1

Interested in joining the Fort Bend Boys Choir of Texas? The nonprofit organization is holding auditions for boys ages 6-14 as it aims to rebuild membership following the COVID-19 pandemic.

As variants are isolated and identified, Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass believes the vaccines available can handle identified variants (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
'The vaccines we have are effective against all the variants out there': Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass discusses variants, vaccinations

As Houston Methodist identified its first case of the lambda variant July 19, Dr. Glass believes vaccines can handle known variants.

Peter Lake (left), chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, provided an update on state regulators' electric grid redesign efforts in Austin on July 22. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Regulators: Texas electric grid prepared for potentially record-breaking demand next week; 'once-in-a-generation reforms' underway

The heads of the agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid met in Austin on July 22 to provide updates on their grid reform efforts.

Takara Sushi & Asian Bistro, a new restaurant in Sugar Land, serves a variety of sushi options. (Courtesy Pexels)
Takara Sushi & Asian Bistro opens in Sugar Land

Takara Sushi & Asian Bistro is now open in the former location of Azuma on the Lake.

Lumin Lash, a eyebrow extension and beauty services business, opened in Missouri City on July 15. (Courtesy Lumin Lash)
Eyelash extension business Lumin Lash opens in Missouri City

Lumin Lash offers a variety of services including eyelash extensions, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, microblading and permanent makeup.

The community features a 12-acre farm with an orchard, a greenhouse, homes for goats and chickens, seasonal produce sold on-site each Saturday and a vineyard managed by Messina Hof. (Courtesy Harvest Green)
Texas Association of Builders dubs Harvest Green as Best Overall Community

In addition to being named Best Overall Community More than 600 Acres, Harvest Green was a finalist in the Best Community Amenity, Best Community Clubhouse and Best Website categories.

Missouri City City Council approved a zoning change that will allow for a new residential and commercial development at Hwy. 6 and the Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road. (Courtesy city of Missouri City/The Dinerstein Companies)
Missouri City City Council approves zoning change to allow for new single-family rental neighborhood

The residential area will be managed and leased like an apartment complex but consist of single-family homes. Find out more about the development coming to Missouri City.