FEMA approves expanded grant for Huntsville flood prevention

FEMA approves expanded grant for Huntsville flood prevention

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The storm water flowed on Tuesday, but so did the flow of federal dollars to Huntsville.

In an email, FEMA spokesperson Crystal Paulk-Buchanan said the agency had approved the cost benefit analysis for a multi-million dollar grant.

The grant will fund a project designed to improve the flooding infrastructure near Dallas Branch and Pinhook Creek.

It will help widen existing channels along Dallas Branch and make enhancements to existing culverts and bridges.

A new detention pond will be created near Dallas Avenue to hold storm water.

The work will continue down Pinhook Creek, ending at Holmes Avenue.

The announcement is 15 years in the making, and in 2018 Huntsville announced it had been awarded a $16 million grant for the project.

However, the city told WAFF 48 News in February 2019 the grant would likely not cover the entire cost of the project. The city subsequently requested more money to cover projected costs.

In January 2020, the city said it provided inaccurate cost estimates, and FEMA said the city would give the city a response by mid-March.

It’s unclear how much the new grant is worth.

Huntsville City spokeswoman Kelly Schrimsher said the city engineering department would be able to comment once the official documents have been sent.

Paulk-Buchanan said FEMA would be sending over the paperwork within a week.

Five Points resident Lee Owens said he’s lived in the neighborhood for more than 50 years, and the improvements are needed.

“It seems like it takes deaths or serious property loss to get something done. And when you see this, it shouldn’t take much to figure out something needs to be done with it,” he said.

Neighbor Amy Hodges said her home could be demolished by the city as part of the plan, and she was looking for a concrete answer.

“I guess I’m good to sell it to the city, if they want to take it and tear it down, otherwise I would probably stay here, because it’s clearly, definitely a good investment," she said.

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