STAUNTON, Va -- When an earthquake hit Louisa County and a tropical storm made landfall last summer, it opened up the potential for hazard mitigation money throughout the state.
Staunton city officials decided to seize the opportunity to take care of some disasters waiting to happen.
“The flood plane kind of follows along Gypsy Hill Park, so it would flood the park. It would flood the Central Ave and Augusta St corridors, eventually ending up in the Wharf Parking Lot,” said Deputy Fire Marshall Shawn Maddox.
They know this, because it already happened, in 2003. Officials say Lake Tams, the storm water retention pool in the park, is in dire need of repair. It is a $400,0000 project to prevent erosion to the banks.
“We've lost several feet of storage capacity resulting in us needing to drain it more if we needed to use it. Or if there is a large, quick moving storm, it would be full.”
The grant will take care of 75-percent of the project's cost. More importantly, the same grant will be responsible for the lives of anyone who counts on Staunton Fire and Rescue for quick response.
Right now, the backup generator at Station One is close to 30 years old and finding parts to repair it is becoming difficult. Lives could be threatened when it does not work properly.
“Then we have to put the doors up manually and the doors are pretty heavy where it takes four to five of us to get these doors up. When there's only four or five of you here, it takes everybody to get one door open,” said Captain of Staunton Fire and Rescue Perry Weller.
The FEMA grant will also be used to replace the dangerous generator.
“By getting a newer generator, it would allow us to cut down on maintenance costs and be more efficient.”
Staunton leaders expect to find out if they get the grant by next summer. They think June's storms could also make more FEMA grants available in the future.
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