Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced $14.2 million in federal funding has become available for several statewide projects in FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The dollars were initially allocated in 2017 and the projects are now being approved by the federal government to be implemented.
A total of $300 million is being divided among each parish impacted by the 2016 floods. Within the past 30 days, four additional projects have now been designated as fully funded while funding for 16 additional projects will be phased, allowing engineering and design work and environmental studies to begin. To date, 74 projects have been approved, totaling $67.6 million.
“These projects are crucial to providing increased protection to our citizens during severe weather,” said Gov. Edwards. “I first announced that funding had been allocated for the projects in 2017, and now we are starting to see a wave of approval for them to begin. It has been tremendous having FEMA Region 6 Regional Administrator Tony Robinson work with my office and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to expedite the funding process. About a month ago, while meeting with us during Hurricane Barry, Tony agreed to help prioritize this effort and since then these 20 projects have been approved. I’m also thankful to our congressional delegation for assisting in making the process simpler and faster. We appreciate this collective effort and look forward to additional approvals as we move forward.”
The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides grants to states and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a Major Disaster Declaration. HMGP was created to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters. The program enables mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster. For communities without FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plans, the program also provides funding to help develop plans.
The four fully funded projects include:
1. Fire District 5 Safe Rooms, Livingston Parish ($981,718.50)
Constructs two (2), 1500 square foot, dual-use safe rooms to provide protection for nearly 50 critical services personnel. The facilities will serve as the fire station’s living quarters and serve as a hurricane safe room. Property locations are District 5 Fire Station #1 located at 31747 Myers Road in Denham Springs and District 5 Fire Station #2 located at 25500 LA Highway 16 in Denham Springs.
2. Home Elevation Project, Livingston Parish ($5,356,533.75)
This project provides for the elevation of up to 51 residential structures located throughout the parish to finished floor elevations (FFEs) that are one foot above the base flood elevation (BFE) associated with each property.
3. Elevation/Acquisition of Flood-Prone Structures, Tangipahoa Parish ($2,104,006.50)
Tangipahoa will elevate 13 repetitive loss and/or substantially damaged homes above the base flood elevation (BFE) and acquire and demolish 4 repetitive loss structures. The acquired properties will be deed-restricted and converted to green space in perpetuity.
4. Coulee Ile des Cannes Detention/Retention Outfall Structure, City of Scott/Lafayette Parish ($2,400,000)
Lafayette will improve approximately 2500 linear feet of the Coulee Ile des Cannes in Scott, LA from just north of Dulles Drive to Fenetre Road. The project includes deepening and widening the existing channel. The purpose of the project is to increase the overall capacity of the channel, thus reducing base flood elevations throughout the watershed and increasing flood protection during heavy rain events.
16 additional projects in seven parishes have been approved for Phase 1 funding. Those parishes are East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, Tangipahoa, Vermilion and Washington. The combined total approved in Phase 1 funding is $3,406,139. In some circumstances, it is beyond the local applicant’s technical and financial resources to provide complete information required for full HMGP eligibility. Phase 1 funding allows a local applicant to develop a complete body of technical data needed for project approval before construction (Phase 2 approval). Once Phase 1 project information is submitted to FEMA and approved, it would be eligible for construction funding under phase 2.