Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Judge temporarily blocks controversial drainange project

Posted By on Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 4:26 PM

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After two long days of court testimony last week, state District Judge David Berchelmann has granted a temporary injunction that stops the city from spending any 2007 bond money on a multi million dollar drainage project down Hildebrand.

The plaintiffs, the Headwaters Coalition and the River Road Neighborhood Association, had argued in court that the city broke its contract with voters by rerouting the project down Hildebrand. As it stands, the city wants to build a new large-scale drainage outfall into the east bank of the San Antonio River between Miraflores Park and the river’s headwaters – something the Headwaters Coalition, the neighborhood association and Native American groups vehemently oppose.

The city argued in court last week that more targeted analysis done after the 2007 bond passed proved the route down Hildebrand would be cheaper and more efficient.

Lawyers on both sides will craft and sign the temporary restraining order in the coming days while waiting for Berchelmann to set a trial date.

San Antonio City Attorney Michael Bernard said the city had planned to start construction sometime late next month. "We've got a little bit of time to work this out because shovels weren't going to hit the ground real soon anyway," he said. Mike Frisbie, director of the city's capital improvements department, has insisted the city cannot afford a long wait in litigation, saying construction contracts will eventually expire.

Bernard remarked, "Time is not of the essence but, but it's important...We have to make some decisions in a timely manner, because it's expensive not to."

Read more about the case in this week’s QueQue.

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