Fighting for the Future of Sandbranch
With Mr. McPherson's support, the community formed the Sandbranch Development and Water Supply Corp., organizing multiple meetings with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and representatives from 11 different agencies, including the EPA, FEMA, and USDA. They discussed plans to bring water to the community, repair homes, and remove hazards. Mr. McPherson organized volunteer efforts and private donations to support these massive projects, but county officials were leaning toward relocating residents instead of improving the community.
On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, Sandbranch community leaders held a press conference to respond to Dallas County’s recent announcement that it was preparing a voluntary relocation program. Residents were vehemently opposed to this announcement, especially considering those who accepted the buy-out received no more than a few thousand dollars each. A similar buy-out initiative took place in 2005, and residents received only $350 a piece for mortgage-free homes.
Despite the countermeasures of Dallas County, the efforts of Mr. McPherson and the Sandbranch Development and Water Supply Corp. resulted in a $30,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office to set up a water and sewer system in Sandbranch. Currently, Mr. McPherson is working to secure a $6.5 million grant, and the first installment should arrive in 2021.
Mr. McPherson intervened in this crisis because he knew his combined background in real estate, business, and environmental law gave him the tools he needed to make a difference where no one else could. News stations around the world have broadcasted his pro bono work in eight different languages, and we hope this international attention will provide the support we need to permanently change the lives of the Sandbranch community.
To learn more about this four-year process, visit here.