In an area of Greenwood prone to flooding, homes are being torn down, and they won’t be replaced.
And now, after an initial round of buying and tearing down homes in an area where flooding has repeatedly been an issue, the city is looking at getting an additional grant to purchase more properties if homeowners are willing to sell.
This week, workers were finishing demolishing a home on Water Street, one of five that will be torn down this month with the aid of a federal grant. The city wants to clear out a block of properties in a flood-prone area north of Main Street and east of the railroad tracks, as well as homes along a cul-de-sac north of Pleasant Run Creek on Bomar Lane. The land would be used as park space, which could flood without causing damage, and property owners would no longer face the threat of flooding or the costs of flood insurance.
Officials now want to request a second grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to purchase additional homes in the area, as not all property owners were keen to the idea for the first grant. Officials plan to begin contacting property owners next month to gauge their interest in selling, Greenwood Stormwater Department Director Chris Jones said.
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The city has its eye on about 20 additional properties and is looking to apply for another federal grant to purchase as many properties as homeowners are willing to sell, Jones said. Seven homeowners have already told the city they would be interested in selling, Jones said. The area was one hit hard by flooding in the 2008 flood.
Earlier this year, the Greenwood City Council gave its approval for both the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission and Board of Stormwater Management to purchase more properties in the area near Pleasant Creek where the city had already begun buying homes with the initial federal grant and through the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission.
How much money the city will apply for with the second grant and how many additional homes will be covered will be determined by how many homeowners are willing to sell, because the process is entirely voluntary, Jones said. The grant application will be due the summer of 2018.
Greenwood had previously applied for and received a $977,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover 75 percent of the cost of purchasing and tearing down 13 homes in the area north of Main Street and east of the railroad tracks. The redevelopment commission, using funds collected in its tax increment financing, or TIF, districts, has purchased one home and is in the process of purchasing up to two more.
Of the 13 properties, several homeowners haven’t made a final decision on whether they will sell. If they choose not to sell, the city won’t be able to use the grant funds for other projects, Jones said.
The main factor for many of the homeowners who do want to sell is the rising costs of flood insurance, Jones said.
“We’re just happy that we can act as the agent for these properties owners to be removed from the floodway,” Jones said. “The cost of flood insurance goes up each year.”
Before filing for the next grant, the city will be sending out letters to property owners to see if they want to sell, he said.
“We want to make sure we have commitment from property owners before we invest a lot of time in the application,” he said.
Johnson County and Franklin both did flood buyouts after the 2008 flood, and spent a combined $8.5 million in federal grants to purchase and tear down more than 100 homes.
Greenwood is looking at using a combination of federal grants and funds from two city boards to purchase up to 35 properties in several flood prone areas.
Location: The block bordered by Water Street, Main Street, Broadway Street and the railroad tracks
Location: South of Main Street and east of the railroad tracks
Location: Cul-de-sac at the south end of Bomar Lane, north of Pleasant Run Creek