After the Floods: Planning for Community, Connections, and Resilience

Recovery Planning Assistance Team Report



Wharton, Texas, was severely impacted by Hurricane Harvey in early September 2017, but the city has a long history of flooding. The Wharton Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) applied to a disaster recovery RFP issued by the APA Foundation with support from the Pisces Foundation. WEDC requested help from a Recovery Planning Assistance Team (RPAT), a subset of the Community Planning Assistance Teams (CPAT) program that helps communities recovering from disasters.

WEDC requested assistance to explore ways of integrating a new flood protection system funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) with other plans and projects around the city of Wharton. The team's study area included the entire city, but focused primarily on where the new flood protection system is planned, especially the historically African American West End neighborhood.

The final report includes the team's findings, analyses, recommendations, and implementation strategy. The report provides guidance on how the city can request design changes to the flood protection project through USACE's Section 408 process.

The team recommends integrating cultural resources programming into city programs and offers ways to share many of the city's undertold stories. Mobility and accessibility recommendations fall under three priorities including investment in the active transportation network, safety for all, and coordinating and leveraging infrastructure projects with partners. The implementation section lists individual projects categorized by type, timing, and responsibility.

Meet the Team

Team Leader

Ennis Davis, AICP

Ennis Davis has 17 years of experience in the fields of architecture, land use planning, transportation planning, and graphic design. He is currently senior planner with Alfred Benesch & Company and an in-house consultant project manager with the Florida Department of Transportation, District Five Planning & Environmental Management Office. He is the co-founder of and regular contributor to,, and Transform Jax, which incorporates his commitment to the concepts of tactical urbanism, civic advocacy, and social media.
  • Adrienne Burke headshot
    team member

    Adrienne Burke, AICP, Esq.

    Adrienne Burke is assistant director with the Planning and Economic Opportunity Department in Nassau County, Florida. She previously worked for Riverside Avondale Preservation, a nonprofit preservation advocacy organization in Jacksonville. Prior to joining RAP, she worked for the City of Fernandina Beach, Florida, as the community development director. Burke's expertise is in cultural and natural resource policy, with a focus on historic preservation programs and resiliency and sea level rise. She is well-versed in land development code and comprehensive plan management. Burke holds degrees from the University of Virginia and University of Florida. She is a member of the Florida Bar, serves on the Florida Public Archaeology Network Board of Directors, and is a past board member with the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.
  • Carlos G. Espinoza Sanchez headshot
    team member

    Carlos G. Espinoza y Sánchez

    Carlos Espinoza y Sánchez has six years of experience in the fields of real estate, land use planning, transportation planning, graphic design, and social media. He is currently a project manager with Windrose Land Planning Services and manages over 50 ongoing redevelopment projects in the Houston area. He is the founder of CGES ǀ Planning, a vlogging YouTube channel that focuses on blogging and documentary-style filming on Houston's city life in the fourth-largest and most diverse city in the country. He also serves as an APA Ambassador, helping champion diversity, inclusion, and equity in planning among young people.
  • Paula Loomis headshot
    team member

    Paula Loomis, PhD, AICP, FAIA, LEED AP

    Paula Loomis is the executive director for the Coast Guard Shore Infrastructure Logistics Center with responsibility for over 35,000 buildings/structures at 2,000 sites worldwide including master planning, programming, design, construction, and operations as well as vehicles, support equipment and waterway aids to navigation. She has 35 years of experience in architecture, planning, and teaching with a concentration in public and military facilities. She was previously the Sustainability Program Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Command Architect for Air Combat Command, established the Virginia Beach office of EDAW, and taught at Hampton University. She is currently an adjunct professor at Stevens Institute of Technology where she teaches Research Methods for their Doctor of Philosophy in the Built Environment, Temporary Structures for Heavy Construction for the Master of Construction Management Program and serves on their Examination Committee.
  • Chelsea Young headshot
    team member

    Chelsea Young, AICP

    Chelsea Young brings 10 years of professional transportation planning experience working in both the public and private sectors. Young has focused on both local and regional transportation and land use planning projects with an interest in active transportation (walking/biking). Young is active in her community, serving on two local nonprofit organizations as a board member, including Neighborhoods to Trails Southwest and Blueprint Houston. She is currently a senior associate at Traffic Engineers, Inc. (TEI) in downtown Houston.


Page Count
Date Published
Dec. 12, 2019
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

Table of Contents

The Purpose of the CPAT Program

Executive Summary

Existing Conditions

Cultural Resources
Flood Protection
Transportation: Mobility and Accessibility

Improvement Categories
Project Development and Ownership
Implementation Strategies

Appendix A: Community Survey
Appendix B: Existing Conditions Maps and Figures
Appendix C: Picture Gallery
Appendix D: Meet the Team