FEMA Approves $2.1M Project to Acquire Flood-Prone Charlotte, N.C. Properties

August 2, 2005

Officials of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced a grant totaling more than $2.1 million as part of its Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program (PDM) national competition has been awarded to assist to Mecklenburg County in acquiring 12 repetitively flooded properties and to help prevent future damages.

“Working with state and local governments to lessen the risk of property damage from natural disasters is a critical part of FEMA’s mission,” said Michael Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security and the head of FEMA. “By acquiring and demolishing these buildings, we will be helping the community avert potential environmental hazards, protect against business losses, and enhance the county’s green space program.”

The project, funded through FEMA’s Pre-disaster Mitigation (PDM) program, involves 12 commercial/industrial buildings located along Cullman Avenue in Charlotte. Over the past 10 years, these buildings have flooded on two occasions resulting in structural and contents damage, environmental pollution from chemical releases and a significant loss of business revenue.

After the properties are purchased, the buildings will be demolished and the land will provide a contiguous section of open space for recreation through the Mecklenburg County Greenway project. No future construction will be allowed in the area.

FEMA’s portion represents 75 percent of the total $2,818,214 project cost. Mecklenburg County will cover the remaining 25 percent of $704,553.

The North Carolina Department of Emergency Management submitted the grant application and will administer the award. 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.

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.

Applications are currently being sought for the FY 2006 PDM grant cycle

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