CISCO, TX (KTAB) – Mike Connefer loves his lakeside home, but the veteran’s sanctuary from the city is being threatened by the rising levels of Lake Cisco.
The lake’s waterline laps lazily at the paved steps to Connefer’s side door – less than a foot away from the entrance itself. This is not a problem the military man thought he’d encounter.
“I had a 100-foot lakefront property when I bought this place 6 years ago,” says Connefer. “Now I don’t have any lakefront property.”
The water behind the home on North Shore Drive is so high that a party of ducks swim inches away from back porch steps – their quacking interrupted by Connefer.
“If I put some bread here on the porch they’ll come up here,” said Connefer.
This is not the first time lake tides have caused concern for residents. In 2016, a torrential flood tore through the same area: destroying the town’s water plant, crumbling a portion of Highway 6, and submerging a number of houses on North Shore Drive – including Connefer’s.
“This whole room was stripped down to 2x4s,” said Connefer.
He gestures around the small bedroom he fashioned for his 89-year-old mother during the rebuild of his home following the flood. A picture of her holding a large fish hangs proudly among the other photos, mostly of men, grinning and toting impressive catches.
Conner and other residents would like the floodgates to Williamson Dam opened to relieve some of the water around their homes, but that just can’t be done.
Cisco City Manager Darwin Archer explains that the gates, installed when the dam was built in the 1920s, haven’t been opened in more than 60 years and that if they were to be opened now, it’s highly likely they couldn’t be closed – effectively pouring the main source for thousands of Cisco residents out to who-knows-where.
And while Archer says the city is in early discussions with engineers on improvements to the dam – it’s likely that any changes or relief will be coming soon to the residents at North Shore Drive.
However, Connefer is remaining adamant that he, and the space he’s built for himself and his “veteran brothers” will not be washed away.
“This is my happy place, so i’m going to rebuild. I’m not going to give up,” Connefer said.