City Hall basement reopens following new repairs due to devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey

Miya Shay Image
Saturday, September 16, 2023
City Hall basement remodeled 6 years after Hurricane Harvey
The basement in Houston's City Hall building has reopened after Hurricane Harvey left it flooded and damaged six years ago.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and a host of City of Houston employees celebrated the long-awaited remodel of the City Hall basement, which was gutted by Hurricane Harvey flood waters.

"It has been six years and 21 days. It has required a lot of patience working with FEMA," Mayor Turner said, clearly in a good mood as he surveyed the transformation that's taken a long time to come to fruition.

RELATED: Hurricane Harvey wreaks historic devastation: By the numbers

Harvey's floodwaters inundated the City Hall basement and surrounding parking garages. Hundreds of city-owned vehicles were flooded.

Mud and debris made the basement unusable. Fortunately, Turner said, a quick-thinking city employee managed to save all the framed photographs of past Houston mayors that have long hung in the basement hallway.

Those historical pictures were the only items to escape damage.

The new, fully refurbished basement has portable furniture that can quickly be moved if flood waters threaten again.

In addition, a state-of-the-art fitness center with donated equipment from Cigna occupies one corner of the basement and is available for employees.

SEE ALSO: From technology to mitigation, what's changed years after Hurricane Harvey

"The first contractor didn't work out," Turner wryly said as he recounted the long, bumpy road to getting the basement back in shape.

Turner may only have four more months left in his term but said this is now a facility he's proud to pass on to whomever the next mayor will be.

"We have put in place a basement that, quite frankly, if we got a storm that was worse than we got in Hurricane Harvey, we would be (prepared)."

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