City looking to grant to fund flood gates

Published 10:00 am Friday, December 16, 2011

FRANKLIIN—Twelve inches of rain and winds from Hurricane Irene could help the city secure funding for preventing future floods.

Franklin Emergency Services Chief Vince Holt said Thursday the city will compete for a portion of $10 million in disaster funds awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Anytime there is a federally declared disaster, like Hurricane Irene of Aug. 27, FEMA takes a percentage of the amount dedicated to a state and puts it in the fund.

“It’s a competitive grant, but localities affected by the disaster are rated higher,” Holt said. “The money in this grant is based on Hurricane Irene, and we were one of the localities affected.”

The city could use the money to install drop gates at culverts at railroad underpasses behind City Hall and on Franklin Street in hopes of preventing flooding. The cost is estimated at $250,000 to $275,000.

Mayor Jim Councill favors the project to protect downtown from the Blackwater River during a flood.

“This project is just a piece of what this funding can do,” Councill said.

There is a pre-application process for the grant that runs until February, Holt said. It would then be at least a year before any money is awarded.