Golf Course as Flood Fix? 200 Houston Acres Could Have Been Condos, Thank God They Weren’t

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Photo courtesy Texas Tribune/Stan Cook

This is a must-read for anyone with a little real estate in their blood, and it is very interesting as a reference to anyone living near the Golf Club of Dallas (formerly the Oak Cliff Country Club).

Basic story: 200 acre golf course in a coastal community 30 miles southeast of Houston saved about 150 homes from flooding in during Harvey. Why? The Clear Lake City Water Authority had embarked on a $28 million project to retrofit a shuttered golf course with five detention ponds that will be able to hold half a billion gallons of stormwater. At the time Harvey hit, the project was only 80% complete. But still, it worked.

When you are an advocate for dense, urban living, you have to consider water. Houston is in the thick of this lesson, and though we in Dallas are about 300 miles from the ocean, we can find a few nuggets of truth here:

As a post-Harvey Houston figures out how to protect itself from the next big storm, he and other local officials say they hope the project will serve as an example of how communities can take matters into their own hands as they await the completion of large-scale flood control projects. 

Branch said the nearly 200-acre golf course was coveted real estate in a flood-prone area that likely would have been turned into condos. But he said developing the land would have worsened flooding in the coastal community about 30 miles southeast of downtown Houston — home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. 

The water authority wanted to reduce area flooding and keep the area “green,” he said. It purchased the land in 2011 for about $6 million. 

A nonprofit group, the Exploration Green Conservancy, formed to partner with the water authority to reimagine the space as a community park situated around the detention ponds. Some residents have pushed back against the project, but Branch said support has remained strong to keep the project moving forward.

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Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for Forbes.com, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature CandysDirt.com, and SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

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