Town flood study in progress

Published 12:09 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Flood Protection Study for the Town of Drakes Branch is currently underway, according to a March memorandum from the Commonwealth Regional Council.

“As far as the Drakes Branch Downtown Revitalization Project, it continues to be put on hold by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) until the flood study has been completed,” said Melody Foster, the council’s executive director.

According to a Feb. 27 memorandum from Community Development Planner Todd Fortune, “the Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC) is assisting the town in activities leading up to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation funded Flood Protection Study.”

The memorandum said the CRC has assisted the town in several parts of the process, including procuring a consulting engineer to carry out the study. A. Morton Thomas (AMT) was selected for the study.

“AMT worked with CRC and town staff, as well as staff from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, on finalizing the contract,” said the memorandum.

“The contract has been signed by both the town and AMT. The memorandum said The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) recently announced the pre-application and application period for the 2018 Mitigation Assistance Grant Program, with a planned deadline of June or July. The memorandum said the date was moved up. According to the memorandum, AMT is aware of the development and “plans to compress their schedule soon to try and make sure needed data is available for a mitigation application.”

“As you know, VDEM had initiated the need for the Flood Protection Study to provide the town needed data to then apply for a Mitigation Grant from VDEM in the Fall,” said the memorandum.

Foster previously said the municipal building floods often, which was the reason for starting the study. “Every time we go down there, they’ve actually marked the floor, and the first time we went down there – and this is just one example – there’s a crack in the floor about this big now, it’s this big,” Foster said previously, noting a sizable increase at a previous CRC meeting. “The walls have cracks in it; you can visibly see it pulling away.”

Foster previously said the total project budget is $51,800.