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Sherwood prepares to buy flood-prone homes with FEMA grant

The city of Sherwood is moving closer to purchasing homes that are prone to flooding through a grant program provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Sherwood City Engineer Ellen Norvell told the members of the City Council Monday night that preparations are underway for Sherwood to buy its first house under the FEMA program.

“We will buy a house one at a time,” said Norvell. “Not all of them at once.”

FEMA has agreed to award the city $520,000 in grant funds with the city matching about $80,000.

Norvell said the city applied for the grant funds in 2010 following a season of bad flooding in several parts of Sherwood, such as the Bronco Lane area.

“We have the appraisals in place,” Norvell said.

Mayor Virginia Hillman and Norvell said once the city starts to buy homes in flood prone areas the net effect will be to help insurance ratings for homes that are close to the purchased homes.

“This will help people who pay for flood insurance,” Norvell said. “For every non-compliant structure, it helps the people who are in compliance.”

Alderman Charles Harmon asked if the city would have to wait a long time to get reimbursed from FEMA.

“No one has reimbursed us more slowly than FEMA,” Harmon said.

Norvell said she anticipates the funds to be reimbursed to Sherwood fairly quickly because FEMA has already provided the revenue to an agency within Arkansas’ state government.

Norvell said Sherwood is the only city in Central Arkansas she knows of which has received the grant funds. “So far, we have had Jacksonville contact us and learn how the process is working,” Norvell said. “North Little Rock has asked us questions, too.”

In other business, Hillman and aldermen announce several upcoming events:

1) The annual Sherwood Easter Egg hunt will be held Sunday, March 31, at 2 p.m. at Sherwood Forest, 1111 W. Maryland Ave.

2) Sherwood Animal Services will conduct the 2013 Pet Fair Fun Raiser on Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sherwood Forest, 1111 W. Maryland Ave.

3) The Sherwood Senior Citizens Fun Day is set for Saturday, April 27, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Jack Evans Senior Citizens Center, 2301 Thornhill Drive. The fish fry will be held from 11:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with the cost being $10 per person and children under 10 cost $3. The silent auction will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. with items being donated by businesses, individuals and senior craft groups. The cake walk and sale is slated for noon until 1:30 p.m. and live music will be provided from 10 a.m. to noon. Games will also be played. Funds will be used from the Senior Citizens Fun Day to help purchase needed items for the center. The event is open to the public. For anyone who has more questions, he or she can contact Don Hindman at the Jack Evans Senior Citizens Center at 834-5770.

4) The Sherwood Optimist Club has set opening ceremonies for Saturday, April 13, on Field 1 of the city’s baseball/softball sports complex.

5) The city’s next Shred-A-Thon will be held on Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on Arkansas 107.

6) The city has designated April 19 as public document destruction day where the city will destroy outdated public documents. City Clerk Angela Nicholson said she is expecting 200 boxes of the documents to be destroyed during the day. Alderman Mike Sanders was designated as the elected public official who would be present during the destruction of the documents.

City Attorney Steve Cobb said the law prescribes that an elected official must be present to observe the destruction.

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