Following major floods in 1996 and 1997, extremely muddy floodwaters damaged many homes beyond repair in New Richmond, Ohio. Residents combined funds from FEMA, the State of Ohio, and HUD to relocate these homes. The non-profit Habitat for Humanity also built homes in less flood-prone areas for some families.
The Ohio Emergency Management Agency (OEMA) formed a mitigation branch staff to consider mitigation options to protect the community from flooding. The committee considered structural and non-structural acquisition, elevation, wet flood-proofing, flood-safety education, flood response evaluation, and “no action.” Through the planning process, it became clear that acquisitions were the most logical solutions for two reasons: (1) the buildings were not structurally sound enough for elevation, and (2) acquisition was a permanent solution to insure public safety.
Acquisition of properties began shortly after two federally-declared flood disasters in 1996. With OEMA’s (Ohio Emergency Management Agency) guidance, city officials amended their 1996 FEMA HMGP (Hazard Mitigation Grant Program) project to acquire 63 structures and 36 vacant lots. In 1999, a Parks and Recreation Board was formed to oversee the process of turning the flood mitigation properties into park space.
Implementation & Funding
For the 1996-1997 acquisitions, the total project cost was about $1.24 million. FEMA HMGP provided almost $1 million through regularly and specially funded activities. The State of Ohio contributed about $75,000 through the Ohio Division of Natural Resources (ODNR). The Village of New Richmond covered most of the local floodplain management expenses. A HUD CDBG was included as part of the local match, with the state match coordinated by OEMA and ODNR. Also, private funds from Habitat for Humanity aided in building five NFIP-compliant replacement houses.
In 1991, New Richmond residents earned a CRS rating of Class 9, giving them a 5% reduction in flood insurance premiums. After completing this project, the village’s rating increased to Class 8, granting a 10% discount to policy holders in the SFHA (special flood hazard area) and a 5% discount in the non-SFHA.