ATLANTA, Ga. -- Federal and local funds totaling more than a half-million dollars will enable the Augusta-Richmond County consolidated government to purchase eight homes repeatedly damaged by flood waters.
Purchase of the residences, which were offered to the consolidated government on a voluntary basis by the owners, will permit occupants to move to a safer neighborhood.
The sites are located in the city and have experienced repetitive flood damage during periods of heavy rainfall. Seven of the eight residences are occupied.
"The only way to ensure the safety of persons who live in threatened areas is to help them leave the floodplain and go to higher ground," said John B. Copenhaver, regional director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"Repeated flood losses to homes and businesses have cost taxpayers nearly $37 million in Georgia alone since the National Flood Insurance Program began," Copenhaver explained. "Our program to get these residents out of flood zones not only is cost-effective because it obviates future losses, it's simply the practice of good business sense."
The grants total $539,950, Copenhaver said. FEMA will pay 75 percent of the cost with the local share coming from the consolidated government.
The FEMA official said prior claims for the properties already equal or exceed their value. The residences are located on Castlewood, Chelsea, Kipling, and Avery Drives, Farris and Delmont Streets, and Rozella Road.
Source of the flooding has been high water that overflowed the banks of Raes and Rocky Creeks.
Copenhaver added that the city-county government would own the properties. Structures will be razed and the sites returned to green space or floodway on which no permanent building can ever be placed.