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torvald

old sears building on montrose/allen parkway

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Guest danax
There are buildings to which I have an attachment, believe it or not...but vacant and derelict warehouses that occaisionally flood don't rank very high on the list.

This was a large, full-service retail store, maybe the first outside of the CBD. It only became a warehouse after the flood.

There is just such a callous attitude here and that, more than anything, has me negative about Houston at times. We lack a good balance between historic and new. One of the reasons I like city living is the get the feeling of history and it's that same feeling that makes suburban living so unappealing. Plain buildings become something else when they survive the decades. Even plain buildings become special to a degree when they survive a long time, and this one wasn't plain, it started out special.

Anyway, we've talked this point into the ground but hopefully the so-called urban renaissance and all of those who are responsible for it are also sensitive to these things and so the ordinances will eventually change as the city's people continue to.

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Why is it so hard to figure out that sometimes the greatest returns can be on creating something new out of something old? Now, the following might not necessarily be the MOST economically successful businesses or spaces around, but they are wildly popular and have loyal followings. They are also unique and make Houston a much better place to live, work, and play.

Mark's

Montrose Library/Black Lab

Dharma Cafe

Brasil

LaCarafe

Warren's Inn

Treebeards

Ruggles

Julia's

Continental Club

Tacos A-GO-Go

Galleries and Apartments at Isabella Courts

The Rice

Lancaster Hotel

The old warehouse could have been turned into something really special. A farmer's market on the ground floor with real lofts upstairs. A gym. A restaurant/club. A community center. Anything. Where's the damn vision?

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I'm going to throw an idea out there and see if it sticks. I'll probably be hit over the head by a few of you in the process, but its not like the nerve endings haven't already been destroyed in prior whallopings...

Is it possible that many folks only place value on historical buildings once the wrecking ball has made them more scarce? I mean, if period architectural styles were truely so magnificent, then why did we move on from them? I would propose that within any given period, we take what is contemporary for granted because it is ubiquitous. We don't value what we're building today in the same way as we value what has been made scarce as a result of the prior generation's lack of value for what was contemporary to them.

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Niche, give it up. Everyone has their own reason for appreciating old structures. I will say, however, that I stayed out of this thread, because I know that the warehouse had flood plain issues. It really was not going to be salvageable. As much as I appreciate its style, the effort to save Houston's vanishing history would be better spent elsewhere.

Nice attempt to deflect your shallow view of anything historical by challenging everyone else, though.

EDIT: Oh. My own personal attachment to historical structures is based on the overengineering of them, as well as the architectural detailing. They were built to last for centuries, versus the 40 lifespan of today's crap. Ironically, it is the very thing you espouse (highest and best use) that annoys me in today's structures. It is hard to get attached to something that probably will not outlive me.

Edited by RedScare

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Niche, give it up. Everyone has their own reason for appreciating old structures. I will say, however, that I stayed out of this thread, because I know that the warehouse had flood plain issues. It really was not going to be salvageable. As much as I appreciate its style, the effort to save Houston's vanishing history would be better spent elsewhere.

Nice attempt to deflect your shallow view of anything historical by challenging everyone else, though.

EDIT: Oh. My own personal attachment to historical structures is based on the overengineering of them, as well as the architectural detailing. They were built to last for centuries, versus the 40 lifespan of today's crap. Ironically, it is the very thing you espouse (highest and best use) that annoys me in today's structures. It is hard to get attached to something that probably will not outlive me.

I have an interest in why people do the things they do. Especially when it doesn't appear to be a objectively rational course of action. After all, if so many people value something for a reason that is presently beyond my comprehension, then perhaps I'd stand to gain a fuller comprehension by challenging those people...or not...but hey, I tried. ...I guess that just reflects on what a pathetic and shallow person that I evidently am, according to you, oh wise and infallible one. -_-

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I'm going to throw an idea out there and see if it sticks. I'll probably be hit over the head by a few of you in the process, but its not like the nerve endings haven't already been destroyed in prior whallopings...

Is it possible that many folks only place value on historical buildings once the wrecking ball has made them more scarce? I mean, if period architectural styles were truely so magnificent, then why did we move on from them? I would propose that within any given period, we take what is contemporary for granted because it is ubiquitous. We don't value what we're building today in the same way as we value what has been made scarce as a result of the prior generation's lack of value for what was contemporary to them.

in torvald's original thread, she mentions that she couldn't find the original thread. I think it dated back to 04 or 05... that building has long been appreciated by many, but unfortunatley, not many who could preserve it.

and no bashing, you are right...that's why we want to preserve what's LEFT. cause there isn't much!!! I'm not a fan of a lot of styles that are loved by many, that doesn't mean that many don't love that style. Take the gawd awful redo over that conienance store on Main and Lamar...TACKY! but in its day, it was fresh and modern. do I want to preserve it, NO (I'd rather have whats underneath) but do I kinda appreciate it for the style of the times? sure...

antiques are a good parallel...if you ran across a, hmmmm, some old fancy schmancy gun that took 10min to load and a ton of work to maintain, but it could still be used, and there were only a handful of them left...what would you think if someone melted that down to make a new modern gun that could shoot off umpteen rounds in 10min but would only last 10 years? (I have no idea why guns came into my head...but there you go :D, the parallel can be made with anything old that was utilitarian that has since been changed...my Dad just got me a cool old branding iron that I shudder to think what he paid for...same theory applies...)

Edited by wendyps

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Guest danax
I have an interest in why people do the things they do. Especially when it doesn't appear to be a objectively rational course of action. After all, if so many people value something for a reason that is presently beyond my comprehension, then perhaps I'd stand to gain a fuller comprehension by challenging those people...or not...but hey, I tried. ...I guess that just reflects on what a pathetic and shallow person that I evidently am, according to you, oh wise and infallible one. -_-

For me and probably a lot of others, it's a combination of a romantic view of the past, a fresh appreciation for a style that is old because it is now unique, even more so if it's actually got beautiful details, and as Red mentioned, they were usually built better. There is also a deeper appreciation that is born of knowledge. When you understand things about the period, how the style evolved, any regional variations, who the architect was, maybe the story behind the building; all these things deepen one's affection for the building. And, a lot of people just think that it's very cool to turn an old building into something useful today, without knowing or caring about all the other stuff I mentioned.

I remember when I was a little boy and the streets were filled still with the 50s cars; rounded hulks. I thought they were ugly then and still did for many years afterwards. My grandparents had a 56 Chevy Belair and I remember telling her when I was maybe 5 that I prefered the new, more rectangular cars that were coming out. She jokingly said I could get out and walk if I wanted to. :) Now, I think those 50s cars are beautiful.

I also like a lot of the newer buildings. The new modern townhome style with the various squared sections I like. The Galvalume shed style is very period already and I think were quite clever and innovative. I think our DT skyline is filled with gems, even the cold and criticized Brutalist ones.

So it's beyond logic, it's more of a fetish, a love of utilitarian art and history. A city with a nice collection of old and new becomes a richer environment for those sensitive enough to notice such things.

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I'm going to throw an idea out there and see if it sticks. I'll probably be hit over the head by a few of you in the process, but its not like the nerve endings haven't already been destroyed in prior whallopings...

Is it possible that many folks only place value on historical buildings once the wrecking ball has made them more scarce? I mean, if period architectural styles were truely so magnificent, then why did we move on from them? I would propose that within any given period, we take what is contemporary for granted because it is ubiquitous. We don't value what we're building today in the same way as we value what has been made scarce as a result of the prior generation's lack of value for what was contemporary to them.

I live in an 1862 townhouse. I work in an old mill building from the 1840s. My dry cleaners, barber shop, favorite restaurants, and even local bodega are all in buildings that were built nearly 145-150 years ago. I belong to the local historical society and am very proud to live in a neighborhood that houses North America's largest Victorian era housing stock. Many other parts of Boston (Beacon Hill, Back Bay, North End, Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Hyde Park, Roslindale, Roxbury, Fenway, etc...) are also filled with old structures that have been adapted to modern life. It's part of why Boston is so great and why the demand to live here has driven prices through the roof. Unfortunately, many parts of Boston were ruined to make way for the new such as the West End for a sterile 1960s high rise development called Charles River Park, the Sculley Square (old red light district) to make way for the most horrible brutalist architecture you will find (City Hall Plaza). Funny, it's these new places that SUCK in this town whereas people are falling all over themselves to find something older.

Stop being such a putz. This is an ARCHITECTURE site first and foremost. Of course, you're going to find tons of people who care about history, tradition, and design posting on these boards. While I agree with Red that this was not a fight worth fighting because of the flooding issues, I am wary of the larger message that keeps being sent to Houston developers; that we as a community don't care what they deliver to us beyond making sure there is adequate parking.

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I have an interest in why people do the things they do. Especially when it doesn't appear to be a objectively rational course of action. After all, if so many people value something for a reason that is presently beyond my comprehension, then perhaps I'd stand to gain a fuller comprehension by challenging those people...or not...but hey, I tried. ...I guess that just reflects on what a pathetic and shallow person that I evidently am, according to you, oh wise and infallible one. -_-

fella, are you an objectivist?

not generally speaking but an ayn rand type?

in torvald's original thread, she mentions that she couldn't find the original thread...

who you callin' a lady ms. wendyps?

am i really that eloquent?

304246695_bcd9caacab_m.jpg

Edited by torvald

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woops :blush: got you confused...

thought it was funny! :lol:

the photo is from little britain...

an awesome show if you haven't seen it!

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The old warehouse is coming down as I type this. Drove by just a little bit ago, the Northbound side of Studemont is closed and the wrecking ball is taking it all down.

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Stop being such a putz. This is an ARCHITECTURE site first and foremost. Of course, you're going to find tons of people who care about history, tradition, and design posting on these boards.

Oh, make no mistake about it--I do care about history, tradition, and design. But these concepts are not exclusive of demolition and recreation. In fact, I'd submit to you that the ephemeral nature of the City is an inherent component of history, tradition, and design.

fella, are you an objectivist?

not generally speaking but an ayn rand type?

I suppose, generally speaking. But I've read enough of her work now to want to distance myself from her by about the same extent as I distance myself from the Libertarian Party. Too much extremism.

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I suppose, generally speaking. But I've read enough of her work now to want to distance myself from her by about the same extent as I distance myself from the Libertarian Party. Too much extremism.

i have a bunch of old objectivism philosophy books

left from my ex... was about to ship 'em your way!

:lol:

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i have a bunch of old objectivism philosophy books

left from my ex... was about to ship 'em your way!

:lol:

Oh, I'll take 'em! Absolutely. I just lost half of my 2-book objectivism collection to my ex-.

I'm not anything, really, objectivist or otherwise; I guess that makes me fundamentally uncertain. Extremism is hard to escape, no matter where I look. But that doesn't mean that I've given up reading. PM me your phone number or e-mail address and lets arrange something.

THANKS! :)

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Back to the topic...

Historic Houston has posted some fascinating historic photos of the building on their website:

www.historichouston.org

In regards to the bricks, the demolition guys will let you take some. Just ask.

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first of all, i was there today and spoke briefly with another HAIF person.

i didn't identify myself at the time which was rude and i apologize. if it

was you, please PM me.

anyhow, we were both there for the same reason: bricks.

this morning i may have found a few.

yet, when i returned an hour or so later there was another fella in overalls,

hard hat, glasses and a pony tail. he was not standing with the demolition

company, he was at the side looking for pieces, within the gate. we was

going to fresh piles of rubble and removing the detail work with a crow bar

and placing them in a pile. he had a dust mask on so i made eye contact

with him and tried to get his attention. i was interested to see if he was in

fact with a preservation society or a resale person. i called out to him with

no response. the other person who was there went over to the pile and

pointed at the stack politely. the overalled man waved his hand for them

to step back.

when we did not leave, he approached us. we asked if this was a preservation

effort of some sort and he wouldn't say... he did say that "he worked for

someone with exclusive rights to pieces recovered from the building". he said

they were not allowed to take it out, only to retrieve it once it fell. i said i was

happy that he was salvaging the pieces and they weren't just going into the

regular bin to be hauled off. he asked the other HAIFer and i if we had arrived

together and i said no, we were interested in maybe getting a brick, for nostalgic

purposes. he then let us know that we could go to a brick retailer off of I-10

and get the same bricks... which would lead me to believe that he's not a

preservation kind of guy. we mentioned that we just wanted "a brick" from the

building for nostalgic/romanticized reasons.

he then said the person with the salvage rights (not sure if that's the term) "would

be pretty mad if people were taking things, not mad but it wouldn't be good". he

also stated that "some one or some people were arrested saturday morning for

taking bricks. not just bricks but wood and metal items".

is there a way to verify if someone has been recently arrested at the site for looting/

trespassing, saturday or otherwise. during the time we spoke to him the demolition

men were not around so i could not verify the gentleman with them.

Edited by torvald

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he then let us know that we could go to a brick retailer off of I-10

and get the same bricks... which would lead me to believe that he's not a

preservation kind of guy. we mentioned that we just wanted "a brick" from the

building for nostalgic/romanticized reasons.

he then said the person with the salvage rights (not sure if that's the term) "would

be pretty mad if people were taking things, not mad but it wouldn't be good". he

also stated that "some one or some people were arrested saturday morning for

taking bricks. not just bricks but wood and metal items".

is there a way to verify if someone has been recently arrested at the site for looting/

trespassing, saturday or otherwise. during the time we spoke to him the demolition

men were not around so i could not verify the gentleman with them.

i *hope* that wasn't a AAA demolition guy - they seemed to be nice folks in the past :(

the only way i know of to see about HPD incidents is to check their statistics (which have a lag of about a month or two, anyhow).

this area is beat 1A20, but i doubt anyone can get information that freely.

anyhow, it's odd that the guy was being secretive, and threw in the little story of the arrests (although they might have been hauling large amounts to make some money).

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That was me!

See my post about 30 threads up. Get out there with a hard hat, a little flashing light on your truck and act like you know what you are doing! You can also print up a fake work order to seal the deal.

Most normal folks will never mess with you.

HPD does not have the time to adddress brick-stealers!

j/k - it was not me, but this is how you do it.

PRINT IT

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i *hope* that wasn't a AAA demolition guy - they seemed to be nice folks in the past :(

the only way i know of to see about HPD incidents is to check their statistics (which have a lag of about a month or two, anyhow).

this area is beat 1A20, but i doubt anyone can get information that freely.

anyhow, it's odd that the guy was being secretive, and threw in the little story of the arrests (although they might have been hauling large amounts to make some money).

i get the feeling the uppity overall guy wasn't with AAA. actually,

he was pretty fancy and the AAA fellas have been polite before.

i almost get the feeling that he was the man with the salvage

rights that he referred to.

Edited by torvald

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Just discovered this site and have been enjoying these Montrose threads over morning coffee...

2 comments come to mind: If it is so flood prone as to be worthy of abandonment, why the heck are they putting a big Muslim center there and what is expected to part the waters? I am assuming that at this location the flood wall scheme being used in the med center would not be adequate.

As to the utility/shoddy building discussion, I am not so pessimistic. It doesn't do anything if a nice older structure has been wiped to make room, but look at how the market speaks to buildings like the Metropolis (West Gray) versus Tremont Tower (Westheimer). "The people" seem to get it. They don't want to live in ugly, crappy places. Success motive alone should lead a developer by the nose to better decision making.

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Just discovered this site and have been enjoying these Montrose threads over morning coffee...

If it is so flood prone as to be worthy of abandonment, why the heck are they putting a big Muslim center there and what is expected to part the waters? I am assuming that at this location the flood wall scheme being used in the med center would not be adequate.

Welcome to HAIF. :)

In order to obtain a construction permit from the City of Houston, the new structure will have to be designed in such a way as to be removed from the 100-year floodplain. This can be done in any of several ways, and is relatively easy to accomplish with new construction. Removing an existing building from the 100-year floodplain, on the other hand, is extremely difficult and costly. Considering that the old warehouse was not large (vertical) enough to accomodate a very high unit density, the economics of such a preservation-oriented project were basically shot all to hell.

Edited by TheNiche

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"In the unlikely event of a flood, your prayer rug can be used as a flotation device."

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saw the "for sale" sign covered by a texas asbestos removal sign...

is this a clue if the building is going for a revamp or demolition?

(did a search and couldn't find another current thread.)

I can't believe this site will not be mixed use.... :(

Edited by greenplease

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It's amazing to drive by that spot now - it's just a flat piece of dirt.....with some green spray-on grass seed over by the new apartments....(at least before it rained!)

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It's amazing to drive by that spot now - it's just a flat piece of dirt.....with some green spray-on grass seed over by the new apartments....(at least before it rained!)

i'll bet it's a lake with the rain we're getting here!

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a fence now surrounds the perimeter and tiny red flags dot the property. something's going on.

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We'll make a preservationist out of you yet, Niche. ;)

Your statement does brings to light one problem; car culture is too fast to take in architectural details like that, and that could be one reason that Houston has lost so many. New York, on the other hand, seems to have strong preservationist bloodlines. L.A....sort of.

But anyway, if more people were able to slow down and enjoy beauty like this, we might see less destruction of these treasures.

I personally believe you either have an eye for architectural details, or you don't (No matter how fast your car is going). Of course, most people on the HAIF forum do. My car never has a problem slowing down, when a bldg. catches my eye. All those others behind me can just "!@#$%^&*". I'm gonna look. I admired the Sears bldg. for many years. Just figures, it's gone too. The Houston I grew up with is slowly just disappearing. :angry:

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a fence now surrounds the perimeter and tiny red flags dot the property. something's going on.

I'll be interested to see if it is really going to be the mosque. I liked the old building, but I also have pictures of it after Allison where water came halfway up the side of the building along Montrose. From what I've heard about the mosques that these particular folks put up, we might get something great in its place. I'm a preservationist, but I also believe that sometimes good old things have to go to make way for the good old stuff of tomorrow. Just as long as they replace it with somethig as interesting as what was there, I'll be happy. Unfortunately that rarely happens around here.

This is a link to the Ismaili center in London. It's obviously on a much smaller piece of property, but it's definitely more intersting than another Alexan apartment.

http://archnet.org/library/images/one-imag...;image_id=38754

Edited by capnmcbarnacle

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Actually, I found the storage warehouse to be more appealing. And I won't find the call to prayers to be any more enjoyable than the ringing of Christian bells.

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I'll be interested to see if it is really going to be the mosque. I liked the old building, but I also have pictures of it after Allison where water came halfway up the side of the building along Montrose. From what I've heard about the mosques that these particular folks put up, we might get something great in its place. I'm a preservationist, but I also believe that sometimes good old things have to go to make way for the good old stuff of tomorrow. Just as long as they replace it with somethig as interesting as what was there, I'll be happy. Unfortunately that rarely happens around here.

This is a link to the Ismaili center in London. It's obviously on a much smaller piece of property, but it's definitely more intersting than another Alexan apartment.

http://archnet.org/library/images/one-imag...;image_id=38754

Agree,

IMO the old building was just built in the wrong place to begin with. Was just to obtrusive and close to the street. Just wonder if any of the facade or anything was saved? :(

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Agree,

IMO the old building was just built in the wrong place to begin with. Was just to obtrusive and close to the street. Just wonder if any of the facade or anything was saved? :(

I saved a brick. Would have loved to get some of that Art Deco ornamentation....

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I have a couple bricks, too...i tried to get some of the ornamentation, but it was too difficult to get out of the brick (without other tools) :(

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This was a large, full-service retail store, maybe the first outside of the CBD. It only became a warehouse after the flood.

There is just such a callous attitude here and that, more than anything, has me negative about Houston at times. We lack a good balance between historic and new. One of the reasons I like city living is the get the feeling of history and it's that same feeling that makes suburban living so unappealing. Plain buildings become something else when they survive the decades. Even plain buildings become special to a degree when they survive a long time, and this one wasn't plain, it started out special.

Anyway, we've talked this point into the ground but hopefully the so-called urban renaissance and all of those who are responsible for it are also sensitive to these things and so the ordinances will eventually change as the city's people continue to.

Please, the Robinson Public Warehouse has been a warehouse since at least 1950, so what flood are you talking about?

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Thanks for the link.

The perimeter fencing has been removed, but there is a port-a-potty in the middle of the land, and there were surveryers along Dallas this afternoon.

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Link to Sears/ Robinson Warehouse Pics: http://www.historichouston.org/newsite/ima...exas/index.html

Link to Flood article, mentions Sears: http://books.google.com/books?id=bYIIV5Zob...result#PPA90,M1

These sites were mentioned above, by other HAIFers.

These are the best pics I've seen yet, of the original Sears bldg.

Edited by NenaE

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Link to Sears/ Robinson Warehouse Pics: http://www.historichouston.org/newsite/ima...exas/index.html

Link to Flood article, mentions Sears: http://books.google.com/books?id=bYIIV5Zob...result#PPA90,M1

These sites were mentioned above, by other HAIFers.

These are the best pics I've seen yet, of the original Sears bldg.

Found some old Allison pics. The first is of the side door to the buliding along Montrose, a good ways up from Allen Parkway. The othes are the intersection of Montrose and Allen Parkway and Memorial. Gives you a good idea of what happens around there when big ones hit...

Allison1.jpg

Allison2.jpg

Allison3.jpg

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Thanks for posting those pics capnmc...I can't get over how the city has never found a way to channel at least some of this flood water somewhere else, in the case of overflow. This spot seems to have never improved it's drainage issues since the 1920's. I know that sometimes, in extreme cases, the rainwater rate and length have a lot to do with it, the water has nowhere to go. Couldn't there be retention ponds built for some of this flow? Rising flood water is so dangerous. I know, it's a lot of water.

Edited by NenaE

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