By Amanda Ensinger
Prairie Township has been selected to receive a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant.
The grant, according to Prairie Township Administrator Rob Peters, will be used to purchase several homes in the township that are in floodplains.
“As a result of this grant, residents will be able to get their homes appraised, will sell the property to the township and then the township will have 90 days to demolish the property,” Peters said. “After the property is demolished, the land will be rehabilitated to try to reduce flooding in the area.”
However, Peters said no matter the results of the rehabilitation, the property could never be developed again so it will remain green space.
“Because these properties are in a floodplain, they cannot be developed again,” Peters said. “As part of applying for these grants, the individual property owners also agreed that they would be open to selling their properties.”
Property owners can either accept the offer for their house or decline the offer. If property owners do not accept the offer and their home continues to flood, it would be their responsibility to fix any damages that occur to the property.
One property on Alton Road, one property on Elnora Road and four properties on Tamara Road will be offered the buyout.
“After demolition, the properties would be maintained as green spaces,” Peters said. “We also will look at if the properties can be used to cut off access to where the flooding is.”
This resolution comes after years of residents complaining about ongoing flooding in their homes. In 2018, several residents attended a trustees meeting where they asked for something to be done.
“I have had flooding numerous times at my home on Tamara Avenue,” said George Polling, township resident. “I don’t know what to do at this point and am on the verge of selling my home. I don’t want to, but I can’t keep dealing with this.”
Resulting in several feet of water every time a heavy rainstorm passes through, residents also said they were not able to park on their street because the water gets so high they can’t get out.
Township officials said if the homes were demolished, the properties could be used to help relieve flooding on the road using grading, rain gardens and maybe more structural features.
“We hope this will provide these residents will some relief and fix some of the street flooding for other residents on the street,” Peters said. “It is rare for any floodplain to be declared in Ohio, so we are excited for this victory. It has been a long time coming.”