FEMA Grant Is Turning Floodprone Sayreville Neighborhood Into Greenspace

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SAYREVEILLE — As recovery from Superstorm Sandy continues in New Jersey, one major improvement project is the conversion of a destroyed residential neighborhood in the Borough of Sayreville to a permanent greenspace.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved more than $29 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding for the voluntary acquisition and demolition of approximately 129 residential properties in Sayreville.

The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management is managing the grant, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Blue Acres Program will implement the project and work directly with homeowners.

All of the homes in the project neighborhood are located in a National Flood Insurance Program Special Flood Hazard Area. This hazard designation indicates the structures are highly vulnerable to flooding. In addition, many of the homes are on the National Flood Insurance Program’s severe repetitive loss and repetitive loss list of residential structures with excessive flood loss.

Acquisition of these repetitive loss properties removes them from the risk of flooding and reduces the impact on the National Flood Insurance Program and on both Federal and State disaster assistance funding.

“By acquiring and removing these homes, FEMA is diminishing the borough’s vulnerability to natural disasters and removing residents from a potentially dangerous area,” said Gracia Szczech, FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer for New Jersey.

“This funding will go a long way to help the affected families move on with their lives.”

Once the homes are acquired and demolished, further construction will not be allowed on the properties. The land will be restricted to open space in perpetuity. Sayreville has accepted responsibility for all maintenance and upkeep of the land.

The use of federal funds to purchase these properties allows families to relocate to safer areas.

Under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the state solicits project proposals from local jurisdictions then prioritizes the projects for approval by FEMA.

The project grant was awarded and funded by FEMA. The total project cost is $39,274,060, the federal share $29,455,545.

The remainder of the cost of the project will come from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acre/Blue Acre Program.

FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides grants to states and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration.

The grants help to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.

FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is authorized under Section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

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