The City of Leon Valley announced today that they have been selected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a city to be highlighted on a video education project called, Resilient Action Partners. The City of Leon Valley is one of three City’s nationwide that has been selected by FEMA to showcase community engagement, risk communication, and value in mitigation to communities.
The goal of the video is to illustrate the value of flood mitigation on a community level. Although Leon Valley was the object of flooding issues, it has demonstrated dedication to becoming more resilient for the future through many efforts including; construction of detention ponds, storm water drainage improvements, relocation of homes, partnering with regional flood control projects, approving and installing low-impact development projects, protection and pollution reduction initiatives, changes in code development, emergency management, community education and outreach, and much more.
“Leon Valley has been identified because of the progressive efforts of our Mayor, City Council, and City Manager in making all things related to floodplain and emergency management a priority in all initiatives. We look forward to telling the story of Leon Valley and sharing our experiences with others to help keep them safe”, said Fire Chief Luis Valdez.
“Leon Valley residents fell victim to upstream development that was constructed without detention ponds. I am extremely proud of the fact that residents and staff that were faced with the downstream messes that were left behind have reacted in a way that truly makes Leon Valley more resilient in the future. However, the citizens of Leon Valley have had to foot part of the bill for a problem they did not create and this is not an easy thing to explain to the Leon Valley homeowner” stated City Manager, Kelly Kuenstler. Mayor Chris Riley who has served as Leon Valley’s Mayor for the past thirteen years stated that “the eradication of 47 homes in Leon Valley disrupted many lifelong residents and that Leon Valley experienced a $3,464,210.00 reduction in the market value of properties due to the removal of the homes”. Public Works Director, Melinda Moritz said that “Areas in Leon Valley, such as the Canterfield Subdivision, that were previously not in the flood plain, now find themselves not only in the flood plain but also having to purchase flood insurance.”
Bexar County Flood Control has taken over the reconfiguration of the creek in an effort to mitigate what the upstream development created and will eventually turn the land over to the City of Leon Valley. “Property that was once marketable is being turned into a greenspace that the city will eventually have to find the funds to maintain and improve” stated Mayor Riley. Kuenstler said that “the loss stretches further than the market value and upkeep because the lack of ad valorem taxes once collected has been removed and this amount compounds annually over time making the overall net loss to Leon Valley almost uncalculatable”.
Filming takes place this week throughout the City of Leon Valley and includes interviews from several stakeholders, including homeowners, Mayor Chris Riley, the City Manager and emergency responders.