As La Grange, Texas recovers from post Hurricane Harvey flooding, residents and elected officials are considering Texas A&M student proposals that address the town’s infrastructure, housing and transportation needs.
The plans, drafted by urban planning and landscape architecture students, respond to issues identified last August after a 26-inch rainfall deluged the Colorado River town and rising waters destroyed 175 residences and businesses and damaged 250 more, leaving an estimated 1,000 people homeless.
Taking a comprehensive approach, student teams from five classes worked with a community task force to develop anti-flooding measures, such as reducing the city’s impervious surfaces, constructing new residential areas on higher ground and improving storm water drainage.
These concepts, as well as plans for revitalizing the city center, enhancing signage and improving pedestrian, bicycle and auto transportation were presented at a May 1, 2018 public gathering in La Grange’s historic Casino Hall.
At the meeting, city officials, including Mayor Janet Moerbe, and area residents reviewed and discussed the team presentations and how they might help shape the city’s comprehensive plan, which is scheduled to be adopted in September 2018.
The students’ engagement was the most recent initiative in the city’s longstanding relationship with Texas A&M’s Texas Target Communities program, which, with the help of affiliated faculty and students, aids municipalities that lack urban planning resources available to larger cities.
A State of the Community Report identifying La Grange’s economic, housing, infrastructure and population trends, prepared prior to the flooding by TTC graduate planning students, informed the student team’s planning efforts.
The 140 undergraduate and graduate students who created the La Grange proposals were led by Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning faculty Bill Eisele, Tara Goddard, Jen Graeff, Jaimie Masterson, Kim Mickelson, Russell Reid and Mike Teal.
This story by Richard Nira originally appeared in ArchOne.