Big Woods Spring Lake near Winnsboro is perfect for fishing, but when it rains, people who live in the private community have a hard time getting to and from home.
Pete Mellenberger moved to East Texas from California after retiring and the only bridge that leads to his home was washed out by heavy rainfall.
“I went out before the rain started and bought enough food to last a couple of weeks just in case,” said Mellenberger as he spoke to KETK through phone across the flood waters. “This is the first time that it has been wiped out like this and the second time this year we’ve had this big flood of water coming through.”
The washout has forced people who live there to get creative, even if it means stuffing money into a pill bottle and tossing it across the spill out.
“My brother has lived over here for 28 years. I came over here to borrow some money from him so I can get gas and go the doctor tomorrow,” said Charles Spence. “My nephew put the money in a bottle. That’s how we got it figured out.”
Earlier this year, the lake’s water got high enough to break the main water line, leaving them without water for days.
Mellenberger said the man who owns the property fortunately replaced the pipe for free.
“We all pay taxes so we ought to have the services that we pay for to help fix this and get it back in shape,” he said.
Their problem now is getting enough money to fix the bridge. Mellenberger said the state won’t release funds unless Wood County is considered a disaster area. So for now, it’s up to them to find their way out.
“They plan on getting it done sooner or later, but money is short,” he said. “I offered to donate some of my retirement to put in and get it done because right now, ambulance and fire trucks, things like that would have a hard time getting back in here to help anybody if it’s needed. Because it’s private in here, nobody seems to care, that is just our impression. Out of sight, out of mind kind of thing I guess.”
According to the Wood County Sheriff’s Office, one of the community’s board members was arrested in September of last year for stealing around $30,000 from the community, money that could have been used to build a new bridge.
The Big Wood Springs Improvement Association said the new board is bonded and has had background checks done and they have all cleared without criminal records. If you’d like to help or donate to their cause, visit here.