Central Tenn. Receives FEMA Award for Buyouts

Officials of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have awarded the Tennessee Division of Emergency Management two grants totaling more than $3.6 million as part of its Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program (PDM) national competition to help prevent future flooding to a total of 24 vulnerable properties in metro Nashville and two areas in nearby Rutherford County.

“This program encourages local leaders across the nation to look ahead and plan against future disasters. These projects in Tennessee show that the state and local communities are working together with FEMA and other partners to make mitigation happen,” said Michael Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response and head of FEMA. “By making our communities safer in the first place, we make great strides toward reducing the need for federal post-disaster recovery funds.”

The Tennessee projects include:

* Metro Nashville Area — the grant allows for the acquisition and demolition of 16 homes. These homes lie within the 100 years floodplains of Seven Mile Creek, North Fork Ewing Creek and Whittemore Branch, and have flooded on numerous occasions. Once the homes have been removed, the land will become restricted use public open space. The federal dollars represent 75 percent of the total project cost of $2,629,020. The Metro Nashville-Davidson County government will provide the remaining 25 percent, or $657,255.
Rutherford County — the first grant allows the county to acquire seven homes in the Twin Oaks Subdivision area of Murfreesboro. These homes have suffered repeated flooding since 1991 due to inadequate storm water drainage in the subdivision. Once the homes have been removed, the land will be returned to its native state or will be converted into a storm water retention/detention facility to help protect the remaining homes in the area.

* The second project awarded allows the county to obtains 11 properties in the Greenwood Subdivision. These homes have flooded five times since 1999 due to the failure of the subdivision’s storm water drainage system. As in the first project, the homes will be demolished and the land returned to its native state or converted into a storm water retention/detention facility. The federal dollars represent 75 percent of the total project cost of $2,266,700. Rutherford County will provide the remaining 25 percent, or $566,674.

* Other Tennessee approved projects include multi-hazard mitigation plans for the University of Tennessee ($56,250) and for Giles County ($30,000).

The PDM Program, first authorized in the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 and first funded by President Bush in his FY 2003 budget, provides funding for mitigation plans and the implementation of cost-effective projects, such as buyouts of flood-prone buildings, construction of safe rooms, elevations of homes located in the floodplain or making structures more earthquake resistant, prior to disaster events.

The Tennessee Division of Emergency Management submitted the applications and will administer the awards. Each of the awardees not only had an approved state hazard mitigation plan and presented a competitive mitigation project, but also met a host of requirements including non-federal matching funds and approved environmental reviews.

Each state applicant is receiving notification of the status of their application and finalists will begin work immediately completing the pre-award activities. Applications are currently being sought for the FY 2006 PDM grant cycle.