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City to buy flood prone properties with FEMA grant

THESE RESIDENCES LOCATED AT 418, 420 and 422 Smart St. N.W. may soon be purchased by the city of Cairo. The structures were built in the flood plain and a federal grant is providing funds to cover most of the cost of purchasing six flood prone properties.

The city of Cairo has been awarded a grant which will provide funds for the city to purchase some local flood prone residences in northwest and southwest Cairo.
City Manager Chris Addleton briefed the council on the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program award that was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
According to Addleton, the grant funds are to be used to acquire and demolish six structures within the city. The approved grant is for $104,231, of which the federal government is providing $78,173, the state $10,423 and the local share is $15,635.
City officials have been working diligently for almost three years to obtain the grant from FEMA.
“I was shocked when I received the notification that we had been approved,” the city manager said.
Addleton says the project is strictly voluntary and that owners are not required to sell, but they will be encouraged to sell their property to the city.
“These properties will flood again. It may not seem like it now with the drought, but they are located in the flood plain and will flood again for sure,” Addleton said.
The city manager told city councilmen the process of purchasing the homes will be “tedious,” but he believes his office can handle the task.
City officials remind local residents that only the six approved residences are qualified for the purchase by the city using the grant funding.
The six approved residences are 418, 420, 422, 434 and 508 Smart St. N.W. and 300 4th St. S.W.
Many of the residences are no longer occupied and Councilman Ernest Cloud commented that he was aware of one occupied residence that likely would not participate.
“Once we get passed structures, later on we can look at acquiring some lots and land that are located in the flood plain,” Addleton said.
Any property purchased by the city will be held in perpetual greenspace and cannot be built on in the future.

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