Stevenson Park residents concerned by constant flood risk

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – It seems that particular areas in Abilene always flood when it rains, like the historic Stevenson Park neighborhood. 

“Either put up with it or we’ll have to move,” said Billy Hines, Stevenson Park neighborhood resident. 

Rev. Andrew Penns say the Stevenson Park area was developed in the early to mid ’50s. 

“Segregation was still prevalent,” said Penns. 

The area was developed as a step up from the Goodlow neighborhood, where Black residents were forced to live due to segregation. 

However, the land was developed on a floodplain. 

“The Stevenson neighborhood as well as the Goodlow neighborhood would catch the bulk of the water,” said Penns. 

Carolyn Hines, long-term resident in the Stevenson neighborhood says it was cheap. 

“The gentleman that the city allowed to develop this land knew it was going to be something that the Blacks could purchase,” Carolyn Hines says. 

Flash forward to 2021 and the neighborhood still deals with flooding. 

“You’ve got Lytle Lake, you’ve got Kirby Lake, you’ve got Abilene Lake, all that water comes this way,” said Hines. 

While the city has said in the past that it doesn’t flood enough to justify the extreme costs of putting in modern draining systems, Penns and Hines say something needs to be done to address the issue. 

“It was in the ’80s when I sat on the flood task force committee, there has not been another flood task force that I know of since that time,” said Penns. 

Penns says he believes the only way we any changes will occur is if the issues can be studied once again to see if there are other ways to divert the water, so communities like Stevenson aren’t suffering.

Right now, the city’s plan is to keep the creeks clean to make the flow of water faster to Lake Fort Phantom Hill. 

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