State gives $676K to buy flood-prone homes in Fort Wayne, Decatur

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Indiana’s Department of Homeland Security will award more than $676,000 in federal grants to buy 10 flood-prone homes in Fort Wayne and Decatur.

The state announced Monday that $676,860 had been awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency. The cities of Fort Wayne and Decatur had applied for the grants through state homeland security.

“These properties have experienced repetitive flooding and damage, resulting in recurring economic injury to the individual and family owners,” said Indiana Department of Homeland Security Executive Director Bryan Langley. “Purchasing these properties will take them out of harm’s way, and remove some of the financial and emotional stress from this community and these property owners.”

The City of Decatur property buyouts are for six flood-prone residential structures in the floodplain of the St. Marys River. Fort Wayne’s buyout is for four structures around the Junk Ditch and St. Marys River floodplains.

The 10 structures will be acquired, demolished and the properties returned to their natural state in perpetuity.

“The Pre-Disaster Mitigation program enables communities to implement critical mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate the risk of loss of life and property,” said Janet Odeshoo, acting regional administrator, FEMA Region V. “These projects will lessen the financial impact on individuals and the communities when future flooding occurs in this area.”

FEMA will pay 75 percent of the $570,875 eligible project cost in Decatur. The remaining 25 percent of the funds, $142,719, will be provided by the City of Decatur and the Maumee River Basin Commission to complete the six-structure project. The City of Fort Wayne will receive 75 percent of the $331,605 eligible project cost for its acquisition project of four structures. The city and the Maumee River Basin Commission will fund the 25 percent cost share of $82,901.

Rod Renkenberger, executive director of the Maumee River Basin Commission, said along with the state, the commission would push to continue implementing flood buyout projects in Auburn, Decatur, and Fort Wayne.

“These projects represent one more step toward reaching the national, state and MRBC objective of making communities flood resilient,” said Renkenberger.