WIMBERLEY, Texas – The water runs shallow through a small Texas town that gained national attention nine months ago when disastrous flooding struck during Memorial Day weekend 2015.
For many tourists, Wimberley has become an annual getaway destination with attractions such as the Blanco River, Jacob’s Well, area cafes and boutiques.
But for small business owners, Memorial Day weekend signifies the launch of summer and the return much-needed business in the area.
Hays county residents say every bit of progress helps the area recover. The new Fischer Store Road bridge just outside Wimberley recently opened.
The holiday weekend this year will also bring back unwanted images of homes being swept by the rapid waters of the Blanco River and the 14 lives taken by the flood.
It will also bring back haunting memories for Cindy Meeks on the anniversary of the night she not only lost her home but also the moment when she lost Rio Bonito Resort, her 85-year-old resort business along the Blanco River.
“It has been a life-changing event that people will share memories of,” Meeks said. “We had a hundred people in the camp the night of the flood (and) I’m proud to say that not one person was injured.”
Meeks and her husband, Steve Meeks, said they have long planned of retiring and handing the business to their children.
But their dream of retiring is gone, having spent the majority of their life savings in the rebuilding of their home and the 14 cabins that make up the resort.
Like every summer in Wimberley, this upcoming Memorial Day weekend is especially important for the Rio Bonito Resort if the Meekses plan on overcoming the loss of business they endured last summer.
“It’s pretty imperative we come back (and) if we don’t come back this year, (for) a small family business like we are, you can’t go two years without an income,” Cindy Meeks said. “The people that were here Memorial weekend had been coming for years and years and years. They been watching the river (and) this wasn’t their first flood to ever see — they were excited about it. A flood is pretty exciting (but) this one wasn’t exciting. This one was horrible and a nightmare.”
With faith, friends, and family, the Meeks family said they will start the process of rebuilding on March 1. The couple were able to salvage 10 of their 14 cabins and they hope to have at least four cabins ready for this upcoming Memorial Day weekend.