Mecklenburg County Flood Mitigation Program Facing Challenges - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Mecklenburg County Flood Mitigation Program Facing Challenges

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Gripping electronic images stored on Tim Trautman's desk top offer a compelling visual narrative into the hardship that high water brings to some of Charlotte's most flood-prone neighborhoods.

The pictures reveal standing water at many homes.

He works with Mecklenburg County Storm Water Services.

Many vulnerable houses may remain in harm's way, because federal dollars normally used to demolish them are dwindling.

"What we've been able to do is take 25 cents and what we've been able to do is take 75 cents from the federal government to make that a dollar," Trautman said.

Remember the Doral and Caviler apartments?

The mix of federal dollars combined with local storm water fees allowed parts of the complex to be bulldozed.

Eloise McClary lives on Seldon Avenue it is a place with a history of flooding. She said, "If it gets too high. I know that I have to leave."

"We have been here 45 years. We had flooding, but it never got into my house, but this time it did."

Two years ago, Mrs. McClary home took a big hit costing more than 10 thousand dollars for repairs.

Green space fills the lot on one side of Seldon. "It was a good thing for them being torn down, but they didn't help us on this side."

Help has come to other Charlotte communities in places like the Belmont neighborhood.

17th street was once known for damaged properties, but these days a flourishing community garden takes up space where several homes once stood.

"It creates a lot of open space and that's where our Greenway corridors  have been constructed," Trautman said.

But for how much longer?

Considering the fact that many federal funding sources to remove homes like these are in a state of flux.

According to Tim Trautman the county is going slow, "We're telling people to be more patient with us then they've been in the past, because there is less funding available."

The proposal Future funding from the federal government is linked to a spending bill in Washington that could connect these dollars to a homeland security grant.

Meanwhile, that program is 12 years old and during that time Mecklenburg County has bought more than four dozen homes. There is a waiting list of more homes to be purchased.

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