FEMA: Huntsville will get flood grant request response by March

Updated: Jan. 14, 2020 at 6:26 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Recent rain in Huntsville has the water in culverts moving quickly, but soon it could be federal dollars flowing over the system.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it’s working to process a request by the City of Huntsville for additional funding for flood infrastructure in the Five Points area and will get back to the city by March.

It’s the latest announcement in a saga that began in 2005, when the city said it began working with FEMA to secure funding to widen the culverts on Dallas Branch and Pinhook Creek.

In April 2018, Huntsville announced FEMA had awarded an almost $16 million grant for the project.

However in Feb. 2019, the city told WAFF 48 News that the funding would likely not be enough to complete the job.

In a statement Tuesday, city spokeswoman Kelly Schrimsher said:

“An agreement to fund the project was awarded to the City in mid-2019, but unfortunately it was based on a 2013 application, showing funding and time-frames from that period. Since the award, the City has updated the cost estimate and schedule to reflect 2019 cost and time-frames. Hence the City’s request for additional funding and time, since we are unable to complete the project scope in accordance with the grant requirements.”

The city sent a revised request to the Alabama EMA and FEMA, and Schrimsher said AEMA had passed the request onto FEMA in Sept.

She said as of Tuesday, the city has not yet received a response.

FEMA spokeswoman Crystal Paulk-Buchanan emailed WAFF 48 News on Tuesday stating:

“FEMA has been working closely with Alabama Emergency Management Agency and the City of Huntsville since February 2019 on this project. In December, AEMA provided to FEMA the budget modification request. We expect the review to be completed and a response to AEMA and the City of Huntsville no later than mid-March.”

In the mean time, 5 Points resident Jan Bush said she’s concerned about the flood waters so close to her home.

“What are you going to do? I don’t have a canoe,” she said.

Schrimsher said the future of the project is contingent on FEMA’s response.

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