March 27, 2015
An Op-Ed submission by Noelle MacKay, Commissioner, Department of Housing and Community Development
The days are getting longer and warmer, the snow is melting and soon we will have April showers -- all signs that spring is on the way. But ice jams, snow melt and showers also raise the level of our streams and rivers. Our thoughts turn to the risk of flooding and the damage that may result.
With funding from the US Economic Development Administration, the Shumlin administration, the Department of Housing and Community Development, other state agencies, and regional planning commissions are helping cities and towns analyze local flood risks and identify projects to help speed recovery in the event of a flood. This project is called the Vermont Economic Resiliency Initiative, or VERI, and is modeled after a successful project in Bennington that helped the community quickly bounce back from Tropical Storm Irene and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in recovery costs.
The team is working in five pilot areas -- Barre City and Town, Brandon, Brattleboro, Enosburg Village and Town, and Woodstock -- to assess risk and develop a list of projects that, if implemented, would help roads remain clear after a flood. We hosted a community meeting last fall and have worked directly with local leaders and businesses to determine the locations of greatest risk, identify potential projects, and highlight the work communities have accomplished to reduce the impact of floods. The team is now wrapping up community-tailored vulnerability assessments and draft recommendations for projects designed to reduce threats to people, buildings, and infrastructure.
The draft reports are almost completed and we have scheduled the following community meetings in April to share what we've learned with residents and gathering input on the draft report and recommended projects.
VERI Community Forum Schedule
* Brandon: April 6, 7:00-9:00 PM, Brandon Town Hall, 1 Conant Sq.
* Barre City and Town: April 16, 6:00-8:00 PM, Auditorium Alumni Hall, 20 Auditorium Hill
* Brattleboro: April 20, 7:00-9:00 PM, Marlboro College Graduate School, 28 Vernon St.
* Woodstock: April 23, 6:30-8:30 PM, Billings Farm & Museum Theater, 69 Old River Rd.
* Enosburg Village and Town: April 30, 6:00-8:00 PM Emergency Services Building, 83 Samsonvillle Rd.
The draft recommendations and other resources will be available at the Department of Housing and Community Development's website at Plan Today for Tomorrow's Flood (http://accd.vermont.gov/strong_communities/opportunities/planning/resiliency).
While natural disasters are not preventable, the degree of destruction and devastation to our people and economy is. Governor Shumlin, agencies across state government, and the regional planning commissions are committed to helping communities take steps to implement projects that will save lives, and protect jobs and our economy from future storms and floods.
Source: Department of Housing and Community Development
Last Updated at: March 27, 2015 08:13:28