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County demolishes flood-prone homes

Decatur County Public Works Director Dennis Medley says that the county has completed the demolition of all the homes that qualified for a federally-funded flood buyout program.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Decatur County Board of Commissioners, Medley said that the final property was demolished earlier this month, and that a total of 14 homes were removed during the timeline of the project.

The county first submitted its application for the flood buyout program in the spring of 2010. Under the rules of the program, a property owner would be repaid a portion of his or her home’s value. In exchange, the property would be declared as uninhabitable, and no future re-development could be done on that land.

In order to qualify for the program, a property owner had to have experienced at least three flood events. The major flood event that triggered local interest in the program took place in April 2009, after massive flooding of the Flint River and Big Slough.

Medley said Tuesday that a Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) inspector visited Decatur County on Wednesday, March 20, to inspect the land involved in the program.

“All 14 homes are down, the land is cleared, and grass is planted,” Medley said. “[The inspector] really liked what she saw.”

Medley noted that the project is not technically complete, because there is some paperwork that remains to be filed, but most of the initial work is done.

“It will be good to get this project completely behind us,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop and then-State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine toured the county after the 2009 flooding and helped start the process for obtaining disaster relief funds. Public notices about the program were initially published in August 2009.