Va. Beach applies for grant to prevent flooding

There may be help to protect certain houses when the water starts to rise... thanks to a grant program.

VIRGININA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- The City has applied for a grant worth up to $5 million dollars to prevent flooding that damaged more than 2,000 homes last year.

The grant is part of the Bloomberg's Mayor Challenge, an initiative that awards money to cities who think of innovative ways to tackle issues.

Windsor Woods, Princess Anne Plaza and The Lakes neighborhoods were the hardest hit after Hurricane Matthew.

Andy Freidman, director of housing and neighborhood preservation, said the grant money would allow the city to create a plan to fix neighborhood design and infrastructure using resident input.

"If we get it, it would help do some citizen engagement and surveys, it would help us do some project coordination and planning and help create some new housing designs and neighborhood design features that we think would contribute to a good future for the neighborhood."

Even a year after the flooding, residents are still recovering.

Windsor Woods resident Marie Billings still has furniture in a storage container on her front lawn. She said her family is still repairing the house after he floodwaters ruined it.

"Sometimes if it’s raining, I have fear," said Billings. "I can't even sleep because I'm afraid it’s going to flood again."

The grant would be part of an overall plan to reduce flooding in the three vulnerable neighborhoods. While the plan lacks specifics, ideas include elevating homes and introducing flood vents.

While driving throughout Windsor Woods, multiple "for sale" signs dot the tree-lined streets.

Homeowner Peggy Welch has lived in Windsor Woods for 43 years. She said a lot of homeowners want to leave because the threat of flooding is too stressful and costly.

"We don't want to leave our home, said Welch. "We like it here other than the flooding situation and i know a lot of people feel that way."

The city will find out in a year if it will receive the grant.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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