Editor's note: this article has been updated to correct a resident's residency status and the city's construction agreement.
RICHWOOD — Roads throughout the Oakwood Shores subdivision are causing its residents distress.
All Oakwood Shores homeowners received letters last week stating the director of public works has a new plan to repair 4 miles of residential roads, using the city’s previously approved $950,000 interlocal agreement with Brazoria County.
This agreement was meant to save money on road construction costs by 75 percent, but the plan fell short of residents' anticipated results.
Following more than a half-hour of discord among city leaders and residents, Mayor Steve Boykin explained that Oakwood Shores was developed using an independent contractor — one that has since gone out of business — to build the roads, and that under his leadership, city staff worked on maintaining roads to the best of their ability. He acknowledged the city needs a new plan.
Oakwood Shores residents agree, based on remarks made at a City Council meeting Monday, during which several of them expressed mounting discontent with road conditions. Speakers shared images of roads deteriorating over the past five to six years.
During the meeting, the council did not agree on how they will update their street repair plan for Oakwood Shores.
“It’s true that we have 7 miles worth of failed road, as verified by engineers with ground-penetrating radars,” Public Works Director Clif Custer said. “The core engineering for 7 miles is on the verge of total collapse.”
That isn’t news to Oakwood Shores resident Tasha Biggs.
“So when I bought my property in 2014, the road in front of my house, it did not look near what it looks like now,” Biggs said. “Even driving my kids to and from school is a mess. We’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars to keep Richwood beautiful. I’m not seeing it.”
Lisa Hall didn’t just share her horror story with council members, she brought visual aids.
“I live on the west side of Amberjack and this little cul-de-sac, it’s been repaired multiple times and, basically, it gets torn up so frequently,” Hall said while presenting photos. “I just want you all to consider that there are other areas that are in really bad shape that you have yet to address.”
A bond proposition to allocate $3 million dollars to street and road construction was passed November 2018, and the funds were made available in July 2019. Oakwood Shores resident Rory Escalante wondered what happened to that money.
“The interlocal agreement with the county would repair 4 miles of road for $950,000 inside Oakwood Shores,” he said. “Where is the rest of the $2.05 million going?”
Councilwoman Melissa Strawn proposed a motion to spend $860,000, which is exactly half of the full bond amount, to reconstruct roads in the subdivision, but received some pushback.
“But, now, I’m not an engineer and I don’t pretend to be. An engineer should be coming up with these plans,” Councilman Mark Brown II said.
“But our roads shouldn’t be this way, and we definitely have the money to repair,” Strawn said.
After heated discussion among the council and residents, the motion died for a lack of a second motion — sending residents home without a firm resolution to their complaints.
“I just know that whatever the plan is, it cannot be a Band-Aid,” Richwood resident Lauren LaCount said.