Williston, VT - Located on the bank of the Third Branch of the White River in Randolph, Prince Street was prone to periodic river flooding. The flooding would interrupt businesses and damage property along the riverbank. In the early 90s the town of Randolph decided to get proactive and apply for federal hazard mitigation funds to prevent future flood damage. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
Recurring flooding costs had placed an undue burden on local businesses located on Prince Street. With money made available through a FEMA grant, the town constructed a floodwall. The total project cost $54,000, of which $27,000 came from the FEMA mitigation grant.
The project consisted of an 800-foot long concrete core, earthen bank floodwall along the riverbank. Over the years the earthworks has become overgrown with brush and trees and is for the most part hidden from casual view.
Former Randolph Selectboard member Pat French said, "The great thing about this $27,000 FEMA grant is that the resulting floodwall opened up a new area adjacent to Randolph's downtown for business development. This has provided additional space for commercial ventures in Randolph without promoting sprawl outside the downtown village area."
According to French, no flooding damage has occurred in the past eight years, despite a significant flood in 1998.
The results of Randolph's mitigation efforts made it possible for new businesses to locate along Prince Street. FEMA's Coordinating Officer James N. Russo said, "Mitigation is the cornerstone of emergency management. It's the ongoing effort to lessen the impact disasters have on people and property."
"Taxpayers as well as businesses and town officials don't want to continually deal with the same problem," Russo said. "The expenditure of $27,000 in Federal Mitigation grants and $27,000 in local contributions has prevented recurring damage and created a safe environment for many new businesses."
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.