MALONE — Buyouts for Lower Park Street homeowners impacted by annual flooding is a step closer, as three related mitigation projects have passed the first hurdle.
Franklin County Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost said he was recently notified that letters of intent he filed with the State Office of Emergency Services for its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program have been accepted.
If awarded, most of the money would come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is allowed to fund state-approved mitigation projects following a presidential disaster declaration.
Final approval takes about two years.
FEMA would reimburse 75 percent of eligible costs, and the rest would come through in-kind services, materials or the property owners.
One project letter was filed on behalf of the Town of Malone and covers the proposed $900,000 to $1 million buyout cost of as many as 10 homes on the west side of Lower Park Street damaged by flood waters when the Salmon River overflows its banks each year.
The other two are county projects to repair and stabilize the subsurface of County Route 25 (Duane Street Road) between Hicks and Cox roads at a cost of about $600,000 and to install water-monitoring equipment at Chasm Falls, Westville and possibly Ballard Mill, which could be a little less than $100,000, Provost said.
WOULD RAISE ROAD
The paperwork explained the scope of the damage and history of flooding that residents in the 300 block of Lower Park have coped with for years and the proposed plan to buy out those homes.
Once the town takes title to the properties, the buildings would be torn down and the land restored to its original state.
Then, the roadway itself would be raised 15 to 20 feet to protect the remaining homes on the east side of Lower Park Street.
A 4,000-foot ice jam developed in late January, sending floodwater across backyards and the roadway itself, forcing evacuations for nearly two weeks.
Town Supervisor Howard Maneely declared a state of emergency, and Lower Park was closed off to traffic to ensure public safety.
Some property owners were given special permission by the Malone Village Board to be hooked into its municipal-water system because the quality of well water was suspect after septic systems were compromised by the rising water.
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