FEMA Grant Will Allow Residents of Flood-Prone Area to Relocate

by Erica Peterson on January 31, 2012

More than 100 homeowners in Louisville’s California neighborhood will have the opportunity to sell their flood-prone homes to the city at fair market value.

The homes along Maple Street have flooded several times over the past two decades, with both rainwater and sewage—most recently in August 2009. During the worst storms, residents had to be rescued by boat. With help from a nearly $10 million grant from FEMA, Louisville’s Metropolitan Sewer District is offering residents a chance to relocate.

MSD Senior Engineer Justin Gray says the buyout is voluntary, but when MSD first applied for the grant two years ago, there was a lot of interest in the neighborhood. Gray says there are a couple of options for the area.

“The minimal of what will be done with the land will be returning it to a green space, basically, to grass,” he said. “All the homes will be demolished, we’ll remove most of the impervious area.”

He says he grant will allow MSD to offer fair prices for the homes.

“The appraisers will use comparable homes outside of the flood area that haven’t flooded before to set the fair market value,” Gray said. “And that’s meant to allow the property owner to accept our offer so they can move into a comparable home outside of the high risk area.”

The grant will also provide relocation funds to renters.

MSD is in preliminary discussion with nearby companies—like Brown Forman—to construct an underground storage basin under the street to protect nearby properties. At street level, the agency would like to create a park-like green space with infrastructure to absorb more rainwater.

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