It’s been more than a year since residents of the neighborhood along the Dixon Branch Creek near White Rock Lake first asked the City of Dallas to do something about the flooding problems in their neighborhood. After a year, five meetings and numerous phone calls, the residents still could get no response. All they wanted was for the plugged-up creek to be cleaned out periodically. They even had the support of ex-city council-member Lee Simpson and present member Craig Holcomb, but they still saw no action.

Last summer, the city’s flood plain map was in need of revision. The only new flood plain revision in District 5 was at the Dixon Branch. So, that fall, Simpson called a neighborhood meeting to explain the flood plain revision. He says that the residents’ reaction was clear: “Whatever you do about the map revisions is fine, but we’ve got a flooding problem. We need someone out here to clean out the creek.” Simpson says he thought the matter was simple enough; he told the neighborhood homeowners that the problem would be remedied soon, then told city staff members about the problem, assuming it would be resolved quickly.

Simpson held another flood plain meeting in February with the same neighborhood group. He says he was astounded when he was informed that no action had been taken on the cleanup. The residents were angry.

Another meeting was held in May, this time with Holcolmb, the new District 5 representative. Again, neighbors said no action had been taken to clean the creek, and the councilmember from that district went again to city staff members for help.

Marilyn McCoy, a resident of the neighborhood for five years, has been active in the fight since its onset. She was told that the problem arose because the creek was under three jurisdictions: the city’s park, public works, and streets and sanitation departments. She says that the city couldn’t decide who was responsible for the cleanup, so nothing was done.

After the May meeting, McCoy received a letter from the city stating that a cleanup crew would be sent. She says that no one in the neighborhood ever saw a cleanup crew. She and several neighbors suggested to the city that a creek patrol be formed. (Neighborhood members would walk along the creek with city workers to point out clogged areas.) Fred Almgren was the first person from the neighborhood to participate in the patrol. He says he never heard from the city after the walk and believes that the effort was useless; litter and branches still clog the creek.

Although McCoy didn’t receive a response from the city after the May letter, she was contacted by a city staff member to help set up a meeting to discuss patrolling the area less than a week after a young boy drowned in the creek during heavy rains last August. McCoy says the city’s action was a direct response to the drowning incident.

Holcomb says the incident is “an excellent example of why working with City Hall is extremely frustrating. Nobody will take responsibility. The neighbors are willing to cooperate, but with whom?” Simpson says that when he heard about the drowning, his “heart sank to his feet. These people said in no uncertain terms that the creek needed to be cleaned out-that the situation was really bad. I delivered that message [to the city] in the most stinging, direct way possible. There is no justification – zero-for not having done it.”

Park department representative Ron Dodd says that despite what the residents say, members of his staff have been patrolling the creek once a month for about a year now. But, he says that there are no written records of these patrols. As far as the shared jurisdiction of the area, he says, “We only do our part; I cannot account for the rest.” He says he has no comment on the drowning incident, but adds, “I’m not even sure it was in our area. Our area was clean.”


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