Hope Hill ribbon-cutting ceremony, May 17, 2018. Photo: Sally Ray
Hope Hill ribbon-cutting ceremony, May 17, 2018. Photo: Sally Ray

We’re not building houses. We’re not building streets. We’re building a community.

These words, spoken by Kenny Couch, the executive director of the Fayette County Disaster Recovery Team (FCDRT), set the tone for a beautiful ribbon-cutting ceremony held at the site of a new neighborhood being developed in La Grange, Texas.

FCDRT received a capacity building grant from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund, and they’ve quickly put these funds to work to support the recovery in this community located along the Colorado River.

The aptly named “Hope Hill,” is a neighborhood development formed through a collaborative effort among the FCDRT, Mennonite Disaster Services, Samaritan’s Purse, city and county leaders, and many other community partners. On 23 acres in La Grange, Texas, these partners will work together, with soon-to-be-residents of the new neighborhood providing sweat equity, to build not just houses and streets, but a community.

The residents of Hope Hill are being relocated from homes – mostly mobile homes – in the flood plain along the river, where they have been flooded before and will likely flood again if they stay. This is truly the ultimate flooding mitigation project.

The group plans to construct 64 homes on what was once lovely elevated farm land. Along with the homes, FCDRT and partners will also create a beautiful community park, nestled among trees and bordered by a fishing pond.

Congratulations, Fayette County and La Grange. You’re not just recovering, you’re finding ways to build better than you were before. Definitely a great example of how to work together to become more resilient and to help keep Texas Strong!

Check out Mennonite Disaster Services’ video from the ribbon-cutting ceremony: