Sherwood has received word from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that it will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funds to procure and demolish city homes prone to flooding whenever bad weather hits the area.
City Engineer Ellen Norvell told Sherwood City Council on Dec. 17 that its FEMA grant application has been approved to acquire the homes.
“To my knowledge, we are the only city in central Arkansas to take advantage of this,” Norvell said.
About two years ago, when Sherwood had a substantial amount of flood from bad weather, the city applied for the FEMA funds.
“Whenever we had our last flooding event, we invited people to a public event,” Norvell said. “They had an opportunity to respond.”
The grant funds will allow Sherwood to buy five homes on streets including Jacksonville-Cato Road, North Valley, Marlar and Hollyridge streets.
Alderman Steve Fender asked if any funds were going to acquire homes on Bronco Lane, which received a substantial amount of flood damage.
Norvell said, “Nobody applied on Bronco. There are a lot of rental properties there. This is for primary residences.”
Norvell said properties to be bought out would have had a history of three flooding events.
Once the city acquires the properties with the use of the federal grant monies they can be developed in the future on as green space she said.
Norvell made her comments as the Sherwood City Council was adopting a voluntary buyout policy.
“The city of Sherwood wishes to offer services to citizens in flood prone areas,” reads the resolution. “Residential properties added to the buyout will be given consideration based on frequency of inundation, proximity to the creek and elevation.”
Any property owners who participate in the program must sign a statement recognizing that this program is voluntary and therefore he or she is not entitled to any relocation assistance under the Uniform Relocation Assistance Act.
North Little Rock City Attorney Jason Carter said he believes the idea of Sherwood receiving the FEMA funds sounds interesting.
“It sounds like we need to learn more about this,” said Carter.