Rocks in the Road: Damage and Flooding of Archaeology Site

You may have seen the changes in Freedmen’s Town, i.e. destruction of National Register Structures and archaeology. The problems: the construction of very high density housing with no provision for Storm Water Detention, increase pollution due to triple the amount of cars, displacement of African American descendant families, and no green space for children. HouTEx, CDC, and other Contractor’s activities, on properties immediately adjacent to the RBHYates Museum lots, may have permanently damaged important archaeological sites, and have created long term, acute flooding and erosion of RBHY properties. The contractors trespasses, removed our No Trespass signs and a mature tree from the RBHY property. Without our permission they stored vehicles, building materials and debris, and have encroached upon our land. It will be very costly to salvage damaged surface artifacts, reroute storm water, repair the foundation of the Yates house, and stop soil erosion. The land is now extremely expensive to maintain and difficult to use for Archaeology Field Schools and research. These activities have deprived RBHY of the use of its properties for one year. The City of Houston has been no help, to date.

The encroachment problem, cause, extent of damages, and cost of mitigation are being evaluated through the expert services of the International Center for the Solution of Environmental Problems (ICSEP), Ray & Hollington Architects, and the Engineering, Science, and Technology Council of Houston (ECH) members. The firm of Thompson & Knight continues to generously provide legal services to address this situation.

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