Residents, county recovering from flood

News Reporter

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Buses remain damaged at Don’s Fish Camp outside of San Marcos after Oct. 31, 2013 flooding. The tubing destination plans to open for spring break.

Nearly four months after the Halloween flooding, many residents are still recovering from damages to their homes and businesses caused by the rainfall.

Kharley Smith, emergency management coordinator for Hays County, estimates the Halloween floods caused about $400,000 in damage to public roadways. FEMA will reimburse Hays County an estimated $3 million for various reconstruction efforts.

“The reconstruction process includes repairing or replacing public facilities like roads, bridges and schools,” Smith said. “Because this was a presidentially declared national disaster, the state and local governments will be reimbursed by FEMA for the response and recovery effort.”

However, FEMA will not reimburse individuals and businesses for flood damage, Smith said. The level of damage and number of people affected by the floods did not meet FEMA’s requirements for residential reimbursement, Smith said.

 “Instead, people can apply for low-interest federal disaster relief loans to help them fix their property or their business,” Smith said.

Craig Coleman, owner of Don’s Fish Camp, said his business incurred significant damage from the floods. The tube rental business, located a few miles from San Marcos in Martindale, sustained about $100,000 in property damage, he said.

“Most of the damage was to the buses, so we’re working on replacing them and getting a new fleet running,” Coleman said. “But I’d say we’re about three-quarters of the way done in the recovery process. We should be ready to open as soon as it’s warmer—hopefully by spring break.”

Coleman has experienced six floods at Don’s Fish Camp, but the October storms were the worst he’s seen.

“Two of those six got near our building, but none of them posed any threat,” he said. “It just goes to show as soon as you underestimate Mother Nature, she’ll show you why it’s a bad idea.”

Coleman is making changes to his business to prevent future damage from floods. The camp’s main offices have moved further uphill from the San Marcos River.

The Salvation Army has provided a total of $10,000 worth of Wal-Mart, The Home Depot and Lowe’s gift cards to those affected in an effort to help residents replace lost or damaged property, said Kathy McNeil, Salvation Army Service Center director.

Liza Astran, San Marcos resident, said The Salvation Army has provided much-needed resources for her family.
“The Salvation Army practically gave me Christmas,” Astran said. “They’ve been there the whole time for everyone affected in Martindale, too. They gave me new furniture and they helped me get into my new apartment.”

Astran, who lost her car and her job at IHOP in the aftermath of the flood, moved from San Marcos to San Antonio last week.

“I’m back in San Antonio for school, and it helps because I have family there who can help me watch my kids,” Astran said. “My 4-year-old finally stopped having nightmares about the flood a month ago.”