By LYNN SHIGEKAWA
Hurricane Harvey will dominate the memory of all Gulf Coast residents for the year 2017 and proved to be a significant flooding experience for the City of Manvel and surrounding areas. Although it didn’t begin until Aug. 25, it made all other memories fail in comparison.
The City of Manvel experienced extreme flooding and roads were still impassable in areas of Manvel almost a full week later. The Emergency Operation Center (EOC) was opened at noon on Friday in order to coordinate emergency preparedness, response, and recovery efforts with all city departments, citizens, and surrounding communities.
To further complicate matters, the city hall building began taking on water Monday night after sundown. By late that evening the entire EOC had to relocate to the EMS building on 1128 next to the Post Office. All equipment, personnel and any necessary items to “stand up” in the new location were taken by several high-water vehicles (dump trucks). It was impossible to travel by foot to vehicles and most were assisted into the front of the trucks. Personnel at this time numbered about 10 persons.
For almost a week, the biggest challenge was the high water in many locations that prohibited movement across the city. Over 85 persons were sheltered at The Church on MastersRoad. All of those were assisted evacuations. On Monday afternoon Mayor Davison made a call to the Brazoria County Commissioner, Ryan Cade, and within an hour, he was at City Hall followed by two high water vehicles and the beginnings of the food and supplies began to come in to support the citizens evacuated to the shelter.
Beginning January 2017 in Manvel, the city opened filing dates for the general election to be held in May. Debra Davison registered as a challenger to incumbent Mayor Delores Martin. Brian Wilmer registered as a challenger for City Council Place 3 against incumbent John Cox. Jason Albert filed for City Council Place 5 against incumbent Larry Akery.
In April the Alvin Manvel Area Chamber of Commerce hosted an informative candidate forum at Church of the Harvest, to hear from the candidates. A voters’ guide was released and Manvel residents were reminded of the voting dates, times and places.
In May, Mayor Debra Davison was elected with 58% of the vote; Brian Wilmer won with 54% of the vote and Jason Albert won with 51% of the vote.
Also in May Alvin ISD celebrated over 50 retirees recently at an employee recognition ceremony held on May 25 at Shadow Creek High School.
May ended with tragedy when Manvel residents were victims of a fatal crash that occurred Monday afternoon, May 22 in Manvel. The following letter was released by Alvin ISD:
“On May 22, an Alvin ISD school bus was involved in a fatal collision with another vehicle. The accident occurred at Hwy. 6 and County Road 99. The school bus was beginning its afternoon route and had no passengers on board at the time of the accident. It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share a five year-old Pre-K student from E.C. Mason Elementary School was a passenger in the other vehicle. We have received word that the child along with a family member has passed away.”
Buck Gilcrease, Alvin ISD Superintendent shared, “As a community, we ask you to wrap your love and support around the family. This tragedy impacts our community as a whole, including those at E.C. Mason Elementary that cared deeply for our student and his family.”
By summer The Well on Masters Road had grown every week at its new location. Bananas were everywhere and a record number of families enjoyed selecting bananas, potatoes and lettuce as well as regular staple items during its Produce Tuesdays.
According to Ruth Dietz, “We served 206 families in our community today, signed up 30 new families and several new volunteers. We had Evelyn Jacobs with CPS, Edwina Bachman with Medicare, Glenn LaMont with Brazoria County Office of Emergency Management and Tammy Jensen with Office of preparedness all handing out helpful information that will be helpful to our clients.”
The expansion of food, services and volunteers at The Well became an important part of the success in partnering with the Church on MastersRoad and many other local individuals and organizations during recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey.
In addition to all Harvey happenings, Alvin ISD opened the Shirley Dill Brothers and Pomona elementary schools to students for the 2017-18 school year in August 17.
Aug. 26 was the original date set for the Alvin ISD Education Foundation’s 10th Annual Gala that supports Alvin and Manvel schools and teachers. According to executive director Sheila Olson, “We want our supporters to enjoy a safe and successful evening so in light of the issues around Hurricane Harvey, we have postponed our gala until Sept. 16.”
The 10th Annual Alvin ISD Education Foundation Gala was held Saturday, Sept. 16 at South Shore Harbour Resort. The event raised over $100,000 for the Foundation thanks to the generosity of the over 350 guests, sponsors and volunteers.
Future educational development suffered in November when nearly 54 percent of voters, or 1,773 individuals, cast their ballot against the Alvin Community College bond during the Nov. 7 election. Forty-six percent, or 1,518 voters, were in favor of the $48.5 million bond. The bond failed by 8 percent, with only a 5 percent voter turnout.
The Massey Oaks development, Massey Ranch, was fully allocated to Alvin ISD in November. The neighborhood is made up of 975 planned lots, 650 of which were originally allocated to AISD. The other 325 were allocated to Pearland ISD, said AISD. The city of Pearland acquired the property in July through voluntary annexation and decided the area must be completely within one school district.
The biggest bright spot during the year for most was the incredible World Series win by the Houston Astros on Nov. 1. The entire greater Houston area celebrated for days and many players said they had to win for the local supporters who had endured such pain and misery during Harvey.
December brought a little snow to Manvel, lots of holiday lights, and a renewed spirit that united its residents in a desire to make 2018 a truly banner year for the growing City of Manvel.