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Input sought for mitigation plan

The Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC) is in the process of updating its Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan, and it wants to hear from citizens about their concerns as they relate to hazards in the community.

According to FEMA, hazard mitigation is any sustainable action that reduces or eliminates long-term risk to people and property from future disasters.

After identifying these risks, the CRC will develop long-term strategies for protecting people and property from similar events.

Mitigation plans are key to breaking the cycle of disaster, damage and reconstruction.

According to CRC Deputy Director Todd Fortune, per federal requirements, the plan must be updated every five years for covered localities to remain eligible to certain funding amounts.

The Town of Drakes Branch is one locality that is awaiting approval of a $785,310 grant through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), specifically related to damages from Tropical Storm Michael.

It has been over a year since the town applied for the HMGP.

The FEMA application submitted by the Town of Drakes Branch states the funds would be used to acquire/demolish the Town Hall/ Fire Department and seven other commercial buildings in the down- town area.

According to For- tune, the buildings in question are all located close to Twittys Creek and/or the tributary that runs behind the

Town Hall/Fire Department.

“Due to their location in the flood plain, they are subject to periodic flooding and damage from that flooding,” For- tune said. “Any buildings that are demolished would be converted to open space, with the intent being to reduce the potential of property damage in the down- town area from future flood events.”

“Mitigation planning breaks the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage,” FEMA officials said. “Hazard mitigation includes long-term solutions that reduce the impact of disasters in the future.”

A survey has been created for citizens to express their concerns and opinions related to the update of the Plan, which will cover all seven counties in Planning District 14: Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward.

A link to the survey is available on the CRC web site home page, www.virginiasheartland.org, under “Announcements.” Surveys should be completed no later than Dec. 15.