Udall, Bennet, Hickenlooper Announce $199 Million in HUD Funds to Help Colorado Recover from 2013 #COflood

Evans Colorado September 2013 via TheDenverChannel.com
Evans Colorado September 2013 via TheDenverChannel.com

Here’s the release from Senator Udall’s office:

U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet joined U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Gov. John Hickenlooper today to announce Colorado will receive an additional $199.3 million to help communities recover from the September 2013 flood. The recovery funds, provided through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant- Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program, will support long-term disaster recovery efforts in areas with the greatest extent of unmet need, primarily in Boulder, Weld and Larimer counties.

These new funds build on the $62.8 million Udall and his colleagues secured for Colorado in December 2013 to assist recovery efforts in Colorado. Today’s award brings HUD’s combined CDBG-DR investment to $262.1 million.

“Since the catastrophic flood half a year ago, I have been proud to lead efforts in Washington to help Colorado rebuild its devastated communities, protect our homes and businesses from future floods and mudslides, and secure federal aid for flood victims,” Udall said. “This second wave of recovery funds will supplement the emergency funds I have already helped secure for Colorado. But while these funds are an important milestone in our recovery efforts, I will keep fighting to ensure Coloradans have every resource we need to rebuild smarter and stronger.”

“These resources will help flood-ravaged communities in our state rebuild their homes and businesses, repair their roads and bridges, and invest in infrastructure to make Colorado more resilient the next time disaster strikes,” Bennet said. “We will continue to work together throughout the recovery process to build a stronger Colorado, and we are thankful for Secretary Donovan’s support.”

“After visiting Lyons and Evans in December I promised HUD would do more to help the state recover,” Donovan said. “This additional money will fund a local vision to rebuild homes and businesses, repair badly damaged roads and bridges, and spur economic development. While we can never truly replace all that was lost, I remain committed to helping Colorodo rebuild more resilient and better prepared for future storms.”

“This week marks six months since the flooding began,” Hickenlooper said. “From the beginning, HUD and our federal partners have been instrumental in investing in Colorado’s recovery. This second round of CDBG-DR funds is critical for families, businesses and economic development in the flood-impacted communities. We know we will never make whole those impacted by the floods, but these funds can help us build back sustainable, resilient communities for Colorado’s future.”

A minimum of 80 percent of the funds awarded today will be targeted in Boulder, Weld, and Larimer Counties where approximately 2,800 homes incurred major or severe damage. Although the majority of this funding is intended to address the remaining disaster recovery and resiliency needs from the September flooding, the state may target remaining funds to other especially hard-hit areas from other major disasters in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Those disasters include the 2012 High Park and Waldo Canyon wildfires, and the 2013 Royal Gorge and Black Forest wildfires.

HUD’s CDBG-Disaster Recovery grants are intended to confront housing, business and infrastructure needs beyond those addressed by other forms of public and private assistance. Using a combination of data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA), HUD identified particular counties in Colorado with the greatest extent of damage to housing, businesses and infrastructure.

From The Greeley Tribune (Analisa Romano):

U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet joined U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Gov. John Hickenlooper today to announce Colorado will receive an additional $199.3 million to help communities recover from the September 2013 flood. The recovery funds, provided through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant- Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program, will support long-term disaster recovery efforts in areas with the greatest extent of unmet need, primarily in Boulder, Weld and Larimer counties.

These new funds build on the $62.8 million Udall and his colleagues secured for Colorado in December 2013 to assist recovery efforts in Colorado. Today’s award brings HUD’s combined CDBG-DR investment to $262.1 million.

“Since the catastrophic flood half a year ago, I have been proud to lead efforts in Washington to help Colorado rebuild its devastated communities, protect our homes and businesses from future floods and mudslides, and secure federal aid for flood victims,” Udall said. “This second wave of recovery funds will supplement the emergency funds I have already helped secure for Colorado. But while these funds are an important milestone in our recovery efforts, I will keep fighting to ensure Coloradans have every resource we need to rebuild smarter and stronger.”

“These resources will help flood-ravaged communities in our state rebuild their homes and businesses, repair their roads and bridges, and invest in infrastructure to make Colorado more resilient the next time disaster strikes,” Bennet said. “We will continue to work together throughout the recovery process to build a stronger Colorado, and we are thankful for Secretary Donovan’s support.”

“After visiting Lyons and Evans in December I promised HUD would do more to help the state recover,” Donovan said. “This additional money will fund a local vision to rebuild homes and businesses, repair badly damaged roads and bridges, and spur economic development. While we can never truly replace all that was lost, I remain committed to helping Colorodo rebuild more resilient and better prepared for future storms.”

“This week marks six months since the flooding began,” Hickenlooper said. “From the beginning, HUD and our federal partners have been instrumental in investing in Colorado’s recovery. This second round of CDBG-DR funds is critical for families, businesses and economic development in the flood-impacted communities. We know we will never make whole those impacted by the floods, but these funds can help us build back sustainable, resilient communities for Colorado’s future.”

A minimum of 80 percent of the funds awarded today will be targeted in Boulder, Weld, and Larimer Counties where approximately 2,800 homes incurred major or severe damage. Although the majority of this funding is intended to address the remaining disaster recovery and resiliency needs from the September flooding, the state may target remaining funds to other especially hard-hit areas from other major disasters in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Those disasters include the 2012 High Park and Waldo Canyon wildfires, and the 2013 Royal Gorge and Black Forest wildfires.

HUD’s CDBG-Disaster Recovery grants are intended to confront housing, business and infrastructure needs beyond those addressed by other forms of public and private assistance. Using a combination of data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA), HUD identified particular counties in Colorado with the greatest extent of damage to housing, businesses and infrastructure.

From The Greeley Tribune:

Six months after the September flood, Weld County officials say they will solicit reimbursement for more than $12 million in emergency repairs, more than 130 permanent road and bridge repairs, and more than $300,000 for debris removal.

The county will also seek reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for improvements that would reduce the risk of flooding in future events, officials said in a news release.

Weld County will submit about 35 total applications for FEMA reimbursement, some of those lumped into several small projects and some as one large project.

FEMA pays for 75 percent of the repairs, and the state of Colorado and Weld County will each contribute 12.5 percent of each project.

“Our Public Works staff, our Emergency Management staff and our consultants have been working daily to identify repair projects, estimate costs and gather the documentation needed to submit projects to FEMA for reimbursement,” said Weld County Commissioner Chairman Douglas Rademacher in a statement.

Weld officials say FEMA could approve funding for the emergency repairs by the end of April.

Weld County engineers are still examining roads and bridges and have time to submit more projects to FEMA in the future, according to the release.

The county is also working on several road repair projects with the Federal Highway Administration, which uses a separate reimbursement process.

The flood damaged seven FHA roads and bridges in Weld County, to the tune of $2.5 million in emergency repairs.

Engineers are working on the cost of permanent repairs, which the FHA will reimburse up to 80 percent.

From The Greeley Tribune (Analisa Romano):

Evans officials may seek to condemn the two mobile home parks destroyed by the September flood.

The Evans City Council is set to vote Tuesday on a resolution authorizing city staff to take legal ownership of Eastwood Village and Bella Vista mobile home parks.

The authority would allow them to clean the flood-contaminated debris county health officials warn will pose a public health hazard when warmer weather arrives.

Condemnation is a last resort, but could be the final scenario in the most “massive” of Evans’ flooding issues, said Sheryl Trent, Evans’ community and economic development director.

Trent said the city would seek help from Weld County or the state to help shoulder the $1 million cost of removing the debris, but officials will first pursue grants and other options.

The city is looking at a 60-90 day window to clear the contaminated debris, Trent said, and estimated it could be removed by June if the city gets the property through a normal purchase procedure.

If Evans has to condemn the property, she said that could be pushed back to July or later due to lengthy court procedures.

Perry Glantz, the attorney representing Eastwood Village owner Keith Cowan, said Cowan would need compensation not just for the property, but for the loss of his business.

Glantz said he would have to consult experts on an exact dollar amount, but the business and property are worth several million dollars.

Cowan last month filed a lawsuit against the city of Evans over a change in floodplain rules he says will keep him from reopening the park.

The lawsuit argues Evans has effectively taken away Cowan’s ability to use the property due to the new floodplain rules, which would require a costly investment because every mobile home in the park would have to be elevated, Glantz said.

The lawsuit also claims Evans officials rejected a plan to purchase his property through a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant.

Evans has filed a counter-lawsuit.

Glantz said Evans does have the power to take control of the mobile home park, but he said the loss in business would unfairly affect only Cowan.

“My client doesn’t own mobile homes. My client owns a mobile home park. And it wasn’t destroyed in the flood,” Glantz said. “One man doesn’t have to take the entire loss.”

Even if council members pass the resolution, Trent said the city will continue to pursue alternative solutions, including negotiations with the park owners.

If park owners show any sign of pursuing debris removal, Trent said the city will not seek condemnation.

The property acquired by the city could either be turned into a stormwater retention project or open space, Trent said.

She said Evans needs more stormwater infrastructure to handle standing water when it rains heavily, and a generous-sized retention lake could help.

If not, Trent said the city will maintain open space where the parks once were with some trails and gazebos so that if another flood does strike, no real structures would be affected.

The city has tried all other avenues to get the flood debris removed, Trent said, including reaching out to state and federal agencies for help.

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