WYOMING COUNTY, WV - In 2004, when Vance’s Trailer Park in southern West Virginia flooded, Dean Meadows, Wyoming County Emergency Services Director, knew he had to do something to help. The families in the nine mobile homes had repeatedly been flooded, year after year, including 2001 when the most severe storm in the County’s history swamped the trailer park.
Meadows knew that if he didn’t find a solution, the cycle of flooding, rebuilding, and flooding again, would continue for the nine trailer park homes. The solution was a Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) voluntary acquisition project. A PDM is a competitive grant subject to Congressional appropriations to reduce the overall risk to people and property from future disasters, and to lessen reliance on Federal, State, and local disaster recovery funding.
After the families were moved to their new homes, most of which were in Wyoming County, the trailer park was converted to a community park that a local church volunteered to maintain. They also bought picnic tables, and recreational and playground equipment where today children play on the swings under the watchful eye of a proud community.
This PDM project paid off. During the May 2009 flood, the Guyandotte River rushed over its banks and covered the property with 3 feet of muddy water. This time no homes were damaged and no families were forced to leave. Also, the County, State, and Federal governments avoided funding costly disaster-related losses.
“This type of flood mitigation project is one hundred percent effective and having the church taking pride in their community and become caretaker of the recreational park is an added bonus,” said Meadows.