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Nash County to demolish homes

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Nash County Board of Commissioners has approved the acquisition and demolition of homes damaged two years ago by Hurricane Matthew.

Funds to pay for the process were given to the county by federal and state programs through the Hurricane Matthew Hazard Mitigation Plan Grant Buyout Program.

Applications for recovery were received in spring 2017 and submitted to state emergency management officials. Three of the applications were approved, a house in rural Nash County and two houses in Nashville.

An agreement was reached in May for the county to receive $516,912 for property acquisition and administration costs, said Donna Wood, the county's financial officer.

The three homes are to be removed from flood hazard danger by demolishing the structures and maintaining the properties in perpetuity as open spaces.

The county has until July 2020 to finish the job, but officials anticipate completion in the first quarter of 2019.

The funds were part of a total $2.2 million in federal and state funds given to four counties by state Emergency Management to acquire, elevate or reconstruct homes damaged by Matthew, said state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry.

“We know homeowners and communities have been waiting patiently for this money and are eager to move into more flood-resilient homes,” Sprayberry said.

Of the 15 homes approved in Nash, Camden, Cumberland and Moore counties, eight of the properties will be acquired so the homeowner can find alternative housing outside of the floodplain, while three properties will be elevated and four will be reconstructed.

The funds aim to reduce the number of homes at risk of repeated damage from flooding.

Following major disasters, a percentage of total federal recovery funds is designated to develop more resilient communities using one of the approved methods.

In 2014, North Carolina earned Enhanced Hazard Mitigation status based on its thorough plan and program history, thus increasing the designated federal funding portion from 15 percent to 20 percent. That enhanced status translated into an additional $25 million following Matthew, enabling the state to help another 210 homeowners, said Resiliency Chief Nick Burk.

More than 3,000 homeowners applied for the Hazard Mitigation Plan Grant funding in the months after Matthew; 10 times the typical number, Burk.

“Our state and local emergency managers worked together tirelessly to process and evaluate each application in record time to expedite the funding process as much as possible,” Burk said.

By comparison, it took staff 18 months to evaluate 300 applications after Hurricane Irene in 2011.

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