FEMA grants helping to raise flood-prone RI homes - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

FEMA grants helping to raise flood-prone RI homes

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The owners of eight flood-prone properties near Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly are using federal grant funds to raise their homes and businesses high enough to minimize any future damage.

Eight property owners are benefiting from a nearly $904,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The funds were made available after Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011.

"As a result of (Superstorm Sandy), we had quite a bit of flooding. It brought a lot of sand into the yard. A few pillars were knocked down underneath our house," said homeowner Geary Maher.

"This was a grant roll out. These are eight property owners who applied for a grant to elevate their properties or their homes back in February from funding that was available after Tropical Storm Irene," said Amy Grzybowski, the town's director of planning, code enforcement, and grant administration.

The grants are aimed at helping owners raise their structures at least 1 foot above base flood elevation, which is the standard under current building codes. Property owners will pay 25 percent of the cost of the work.

"Misquamicut is a very low lying area, and many of these properties are below base flood elevation. And what we saw after Hurricane Sandy was that structures that were not elevated sustained more damage than structures that were built to code," Grzybowski said.

Town officials hope that homes and businesses are raised on 52 Misquamicut parcels designated by the National Flood Insurance Program as repetitive loss or severe repetitive loss properties.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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