SunnySide Seeks Major Clean Up, Flood Control & Drainage Help Before Hurricane Season

trashStory & Photo By: Darwin Campbell, 

African-American News&Issues

HOUSTON-With hurricane season just a month away, residents of Sunnyside /South Acres / Crestmont Park Super Neighborhoods area are concerned that this hurricane season and flooding might become a major issue in their community.

“This is a bayou community and what we see shaping up is not very good,” said L. E. Chamberlain, President of the Sunnyside / South Acres / Crestmont Park Super Neighborhoods. “We have a lot of trash and debris accumulated around our drainage systems. That is not good because we all are poised to see lots of floodwater come up and back up into streets and yards.”

The area is part of City Council District D represented by Councilman Dwight Boykins.

Public safety; infrastructure, and job creation were the cornerstones of the Boykins 2013 campaign and according to him will continue to be the cornerstone of daily priorities. He is yet to address the community’s concerns on the latest issue.

Boykins said that he takes the issue of illegal dumping very seriously. “We are taking a strong stiff and aggressive approach to ridding our neighborhoods of this problem,” Boykins said. “We not only are going to put more teeth into the law, but we also will be setting up sting operations to catch folks dumping illegally.”

According to Chamberlain, he is campaigning for an all out effort that brings together the city of Houston and the neighborhood to do ditch, drainage and gutter cleaning in advance of hurricane season.

“We need help getting this done,” he said. “We have already seen the symptoms brewing with a few hard rains so far this year.”

Chamberlain said the last big push for cleaning gutters and ditches happened in his area about a decade ago. He said it was effective on flooding and help relief pressure on drainage systems and flooding for about three years.

“It needs to happen again,” he said. “We need it now.”

There are also other problems compounding the issue. Some of those issues include the continuing problem of illegal dumping in the area, the tearing up of streets and roadways and the failure of property mitigation after new construction.

According to Houston history, Sunnyside, the oldest African-American community in southern Houston, first platted in 1912.

When the community opened in the 1910s, H. H. Holmes, the founder, gave the land the name Sunny Side.

It is located outside of the 610 Loop and inside Beltway 8 off State Highway 288 south of  Downtown Houston and is predominantlyAfrican-American. The community’s slogan is “Sunnyside Pride.”

At one time, the area was considered one of the ten most dangerous neighborhoods in the nation. In 2013, the mostly lower-income community in southeast Houston ranked sixth, with a rate of about 91 violent crimes per every 1,000 residents. The firm that studied the city concluded that Sunnyside residents stand about a 1 in 11 chance of becoming a crime victim each year.

Chamberlain said one of his goals as president is working to improve the image of the community and by nurturing the younger population to have pride and respect for the neighborhood.

He hopes an effort to clean up will help the neighborhood redevelop a sense of community pride and that it will be contagious enough to generate support  and volunteerism needed to revitalize and restore the community.

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