Metro Wants To Buy More Homes In Flood-Prone Areas

Posted at 4:57 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-22 20:16:36-04

It's been six years since the flood that no one expected. Twenty-six people died in the 2010 Nashville flood that exposed just how vulnerable some of the cities homes have been.

Now Nashville flood control officials have been wanting a funding boost to continue to help deal with homes in flood-prone areas.

Flood control officials said the best option for homes in the most dangerous flood zones was simply to demolish them.

Since before the 2010 flood, Metro government has been taking part in the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. That has offered buyouts to homeowners to sell their homes to Metro, who then bulldozes them.

Since 2010, those with the city said 238 homeowners in Nashville have agreed to take the voluntary buyout offer with funding help from the state and federal government.

But Metro Water Services officials said they want flexibility in case federal money dries up, so they've been asking for $5 million -- a boost from the usual budget of $1 million -- to continue the buyout program using mainly city money instead of federal funds.

Metro officials said having more city money available will also allow them to match state and federal grants when they do come in.

The city said while not everyone in dangerous flood-prone areas has decided to sell their home to the city, Metro Water Services has been wanting enough money available to give those who want the deal the opportunity to take it.

“That federal money is becoming very scarce. We've had so many natural disasters in the U.S. not only Nashville, that it's much harder to get our hands on,” said Sonia Allman with Metro Water Services. “But that doesn’t mean that the need to purchase these homes and remove them from hazardous areas is no longer there. This additional money is going to give us the flexibility to remove homes from hazardous areas even if federal funding is not available.”

Right now Metro has been in the process of buying homes on Gibson Drive in Madison as part of the program.