In September 2010, Tropical Storm Hermine caused severe flooding in Round Rock, including extensive damage to the Rabb House, a popular Parks and Recreation facility used for kids camps and other events. The two-story Rabb House was flooded with four feet of water and electrical components like the air conditioning units were ruined. In January, Transportation Department crews demolished the house, with the permission of the Rabb Family, to make way for a new Parks and Recreation facility.
The Rabb House was once the home of the Rabb Family, who started the Wag-a-Bag convenience stores in the Round Rock area, and the family donated it to the City in 1989.
“Because of the extensive damage to the home, any attempt to rebuild it would have required the City to bring it into compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) specifications,” says Keith Kaderka, drainage and stormwater supervisor. “That would mean adding elevators, widening doors and other major changes.”
The Parks and Recreation Department found that the cost of such remodeling and repair would be comparable to building an entirely new structure. After consulting the Rabb Family, the department decided that demolition of the old structure to make way for a new facility was the best option.
“The Transportation Department does demolitions and other projects about once a year, so we were asked to take care of the house,” says Keith. “It can cost about $40,000 to $50,000 to contract with someone to do a demolition. We have the skills and the equipment to handle it in-house. We saved the City about $35,000.”
Two crews worked for four days on the project.
“The house actually came down in about 30 minutes,” says Keith. “We had to cut down and trim trees to get them out of the way before we started. We also used the demolition materials to fill in the swimming pool at the house. We don’t want it to be a hazard to anyone. We tore down fences and the pool house, took down power lines and removed rocks. The hardest part was getting the area cleaned up.”
Parks and Recreation is currently building a Play for All Abilities Park at the site of the Rabb House. The City is also starting work on the design of a new facility for the site.
“We leveled the ground a bit to prepare for the new facility and built a temporary parking area for the site,” says Keith. “We also left the existing slab of the house for now. It was easy working with Parks and Rec as always and everything went smoothly.”