News release from the City of Fort Wayne:
Check in Hand, City Moves Forward with Flood Buyouts
(January 7, 2016) – A check covering 75 percent of the funds needed to buyout 18 flood-prone homes was presented to Mayor Tom Henry at an afternoon news conference today.
Mary Moran, a Hazard Mitigation Officer representing the Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), handed Mayor Henry an oversized check for $862,946.
FEMA funding will combine with a required 25 percent from local funds provided by the City of Fort Wayne and the Maumee River Basin Commission (MRBC). The local contribution is $287,649. Funding covers voluntary buyouts of up to 18 homes in flood-prone areas throughout the City.
“This is a positive step forward to be able to secure funding to assist our residents with the buyouts,” said Mayor Henry. “Protecting neighborhoods from flooding has been a top priority of my administration. I’m encouraged that our investments are making a meaningful difference to assist residents and enhance the quality of life for neighborhoods.”
Fort Wayne’s flood control efforts are multi-faceted and have included flood walls and earthen berms, storm pipe expansions, and buyouts. Since 1983, the City has purchased more than 250 homes and created more green space in these flood zone areas.
All of the homes slated for buyout have experienced chronic flooding through multiple years. Together the MRBC and the City applied and secured FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant for the purchase of up to 18 homes.
The Pre-Mitigation program funds purchases when residents have told the City that they want to be bought out after experiencing repeated flood damage. The homes on the list were pre-identified and submitted as part of the application. The properties are located throughout the community with several being near the Junk Ditch area.
Appraisals have been completed and tomorrow, the City and the Commission will begin meeting with residents to make purchase offers. Residents will have 30 days to accept offers to purchase. Once offers are accepted, demolition of purchased properties will begin in the next few months. After demolition, the properties will remain open green spaces designed to hold floodwater.
The grant application for Fort Wayne was prepared by Rodney Renkenberger, executive director of the Maumee River Basin Commission.
“Our mission is to assist communities in reducing flood damage. We are thankful that State legislators understand the needs of those residents affected by flood damage and they’ve supported FEMA funding. We are encouraged that this support will continue in the future, as we carry out our mission to assist communities with flood damage reduction,” Renkenberger said.
The Commission is already working on another grant that will assist more homeowners in flood-prone areas. Residents with homes that have flood damage and are in flood-prone areas can call 311 for more information.