Gov. Justice held a pair of ceremonies on Tuesday, Nov. 2 to announce over $41.5 million in federal grant funding for several hazard mitigation projects to help protect communities across West Virginia from future disasters.
“Some of our great communities caught a real cannonball to the stomach with the 2016 flood, but we’ve got these federal dollars that are going to help us in a big way,” Gov. Justice said. “It doesn’t fix everything that happened. But it makes things better so that we’re more prepared in the future.
“So to all the communities getting this money: go and do great stuff with it,” Gov. Justice continued. “Let’s all keep pulling the rope together.”
The funds are being made available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Mitigation Program (CDBG-MIT). The program helps communities impacted by recent natural disasters carry out strategic and high-impact activities to mitigate disaster risks and reduce future losses.
The grants announced at events in Marlinton and Alderson make up a portion of the total $65.8 million in CDBG-MIT funds for 18 projects that have been recommended by the West Virginia Development Office’s Community Advancement and Development Division, which manages the state’s allotment of CDBG funds, for Phase 1 of the state’s CDBG-MIT program.
Recommended applications include nine stormwater projects, two water treatment plant projects, two dam projects, one sanitary sewer line relocation project, and four planning projects. Over $40 million of the total recommended will fund projects that primarily serve low-to-moderate income individuals.
The grants announced include the following:
Town of Alderson
Project: Town of Alderson Water Treatment Plant Relocation
CDBG-MIT Amount: $8,304,000
Description: The project will relocate a water treatment plant outside of the floodplain. By relocating the water treatment facility, flooding will not disable the plant from serving 704 customers within the Town of Alderson, surrounding counties, and the federal prison camp. The project will include installation of an alternative raw water intake, increasing the system’s resilience to flooding events.
City of Lewisburg
Project: Lewisburg Stormwater Management Assessment Project
CDBG-MIT Amount: $250,000
Description: This planning assessment project will analyze, map, and develop plans that address deficiencies in the aging stormwater system and the development of sinkholes caused by stormwater flow in the City of Lewisburg. The City of Lewisburg has well documented damage from sinkholes and continues to be at risk of future sinkholes due to the karst system underneath the city. This plan will identify and map problem areas in the stormwater system and potential sinkhole areas for city planners.
City of White Sulphur Springs
Project: City of White Sulphur Springs Stormwater Improvements Project
CDBG-MIT Amount: $2,980,000
Description: This project will rehabilitate and install stormwater infrastructure in the City of White Sulphur Springs. With the current system, the city experiences stormwater overflow during storm events. This project will mitigate against flooding issues by collecting and efficiently removing stormwater. This project will serve the town’s 2,475 residents.
City of Ronceverte
Project: City of Ronceverte Storm Water Project
CDBG-MIT Amount: $8,800,000
Description: This project will construct stormwater infrastructure improvements to reduce flood hazards in the City of Ronceverte. The storm water project will serve 1,750 residents by reducing flooding along streets and sidewalks in the city. Improvements will include storm drain upgrades and storm drain improvements to aging infrastructure.
Town of Rainelle
Project: Rainelle Storm Water Project
CDBG-MIT Amount: $9,955,000
Description: This project will replace an aging stormwater system in Rainelle. The current system is undersized and inadequate to efficiently collect and remove stormwater. This project will replace the system with properly sized and constructed drainage systems, mitigating against flooding within the town and serving Rainelle’s 1,250 residents.
Town of Rupert
Project: Town of Rupert Stormwater Improvements
CDBG-MIT Amount: $2,600,000
Description: This project will upgrade the town’s stormwater system. Installing new infrastructure will alleviate flooding issues within the Town of Rupert. Flooding in the town has caused erosion and prevented the community from reaching public facilities. This project will serve 942 residents.
On top of the $41.5 million in CDBG-MIT grant funds announced at the Marlinton and Alderson events, another $24.3 million in CDBG-MIT funding was announced at another pair of events in Oak Hill and Craigsville earlier in the day, bringing the total value of the grants announced in Phase 1 to $65.8 million.
West Virginia was approved by HUD for a grand total of $106.4 million in CDBG-MIT funds for hazard mitigation projects, meaning the state can still award an additional $41.6 million for eligible projects.
HUD requires that every funded project meets the HUD definition of mitigation: activities that increase resilience to disasters and reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of loss of life, injury, damage to and loss of property, and suffering and hardship, by lessening the impact of future disasters. HUD requires that at least 50% of CDBG-MIT funds directly benefit low-to-moderate income individuals and that 50% of CDBG-MIT funds directly benefit the most impacted and distressed areas determined by HUD (Clay, Kanawha, Greenbrier, Nicholas counties).