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'Packed their stuff and left' | Hurricane Harvey’s impact still evident in many areas nearly four years after flood

One family is working to turn an old restaurant into a car lot and showroom, but rebuilding has been slow.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — This month marks four years since Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area and there are still reminders of its aftermath in many neighborhoods.

RELATED: Harris County to receive $1.25B for flood mitigation and infrastructure improvements

“A lot of people packed their stuff and left,” Sam Wehbi said.

Wehbi and his family are working to turn an old restaurant along Highway 6 into a car lot and showroom.

“It’s not great, it’s not great at all,” Wehbi said. “It smells bad, but we’re going to remodel it.”

Rebuilding has been slow, if not impossible, for many who were swamped by Harvey and/or the related release of reservoirs. It’s been the same story around Greater Houston in the four years since the flood. You may know of buildings in your own area that never bounced back.

“Then you had the double impact of COVID,” Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey said.

Ramsey said there have been success stories thanks, in part, to government resources.

“There’s small-business loans, specific Harvey-related initiatives and specific COVID-related initiatives,” Ramsey said.

RELATED: Houston, Harris Co. left off list for $1B in federal funds toward flood mitigation, according to local leaders

The county said major infrastructure projects approved since Harvey should also protect homes and businesses from future flooding.

“And that’s important,” Ramsey said “That is a Harvey-driven issue. And we’ve got those projects on schedule.”

Wehbi said he’s taking his time giving his property proper attention.

“This street’s always busy,” Wehbi said. “A lot of people driving by. It’s going to be a good future.”

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