I first became interested in Sand Branch after an unfortunate and mysterious death of a prominent leader of the community shed some light on an almost forgotten corner of Dallas County. The approximate one hundred remaining residents have been denied clean water for nearly thirty years. They rely on bottled water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and all sanitary uses. There is no sanitation service, so residents burn their trash. The nearest grocery store is seven miles away.
The road into Sand Branch is a difficult sight. Local publications have been writing stories about the plight of this “third world community” since the eighties. It’s staggering to think you are only twenty miles from city center Dallas from these streets.
This valley that boasted five hundred residents in 1985, mostly black, has dwindled to a little under a hundred. Those that stay are surrounded on three sides by abandoned gravel quarries, drag-lines, and ironically enough the Dallas municipal water treatment plant.
The end of the line for the Dallas water supply is a half mile from the community on Belt Line. The estimated cost to bring that line is $6.5m, 75% of which can be funded by the US Dept. of Ag. To a mighty few, the Dallas Morning News and Dallas Commissioner John Price to be specific, this is not a solution. The county has offered numerous buyouts to area residents to leave the area. The issue with this resolution is not sentimental or unreasonable, it is simply economic. Ctd-
-One in three Sand Branch residents has an annual income of less than $5,000. The County buyouts which subtract razing and demolition costs typically come to an average of $500. Logic would dictate, residents are not able to give up a paid-for roof over their heads in the hopes of a $500 payout.
Sand Branch has been working on borrowed time for the better part of four decades. I’ll leave the conclusion here in as similar a fashion as the people of Sand Branch has when they lay their heads down each night.