Two hazard mitigation projects have been approved to reduce damages from future disasters, the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) disaster officials announced recently.
“Getting these first mitigation projects approved so soon after the disaster is the result of federal and state people working as a team,” said AEMA’s Bruce Baughman, state coordinating officer for the Alabama recovery efforts. “Both properties have suffered flooding many times in the past, but this will break the cycle of repetitive damages.”
The two projects are:
* City of Tarrant – $454,204 for the demolition of seven damaged residences along the Benson Creek floodplain, with the property set aside for open space.
* Center Point Fire District – $805,971 to acquire Fire Station #1, which lies in the floodplain. The property will be demolished and kept as open space in perpetuity.
The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is state-administered, with projects funded by setting aside federal funds in an amount equal to 7.5 percent of total assistance distributed during a disaster. FEMA will pay 75 percent of the $1.2 million total cost of the projects, with the local owners and the community funding the remaining 25 percent.
Hazard mitigation grants normally require a much longer time to get approved. However, both of these projects had been developed and given high priority by AEMA prior to the September hurricane because each has a history of costly flooding. When the sites suffered another round of damages from Hurricane Ivan, the state decided to expedite the projects so they could be approved as part of the current federal disaster declaration.
“We are pleased to be part of this effort to remove property from harm’s way,” said FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Tony Russell. “A big part of FEMA’s mission is to work with state and local communities to reduce potential harm from future disasters.”
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