Reed secures $12M for flood-prone properties

PROVIDENCE – U.S. Sen. Jack Reed announced Thursday that $12 million in federal funding is available for flood-prone properties in East Providence, Middletown and Narragansett.

The Rhode Island Democrat said up to $9.65 million has been approved for property buyouts for eligible homeowners along Marsh Street and around the State Street neighborhood that are chronically flooded. Reed also announced Middletown is slated to receive $1.2 million and Narragansett should receive nearly $1 million in federal funding under the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Emergency Watershed Protection Program for similar projects.

“This flooding issue has been plaguing this neighborhood for decades now. And we now, thanks to Sen. Reed, have the opportunity to give our residents real relief and peace of mind,” said East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva.

Homes purchased through the buyout program will be removed and the land will be restored to its natural state, according to the release. The acquired properties will be designated as floodplain easements within an undevelopable wetland watershed area.

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“This voluntary buyout program is an opportunity for repetitive flood-loss victims to get fair market value so they can relocate while simultaneously improving flood mitigation and developing smarter, long-term flood management,” Reed said.  “We can’t undo the damage floods have done or replace treasured family photos and heirlooms that were destroyed, but hopefully we can help people out of difficult circumstances so they can get a fair deal and move forward with their lives away from flood-prone areas. And we’re also improving the environmental integrity of the floodplain.”