The state announced Friday that it is funding a $30 million program to offer voluntary residential buyouts to residents of a Lake Charles neighborhood that have experienced repeated flooding events.
The Greinwich Terrace neighborhood of Lake Charles is an area that has flooded three times over the past four years, including during this week's heavy rain event.
The state says the buyout program furthers the Louisiana Watershed Initiative's long-term resilience objectives and is funded through a $1.2 billion federal mitigation grant the state received access to last September.
The program is part of the state projects and programs criteria in the CDBG-MIT Action Plan for these funds.
"This week's floods are a painful reminder of the devastation water continues to inflict on our state—something the people of Southwest Louisiana know all too well—and how urgent it is that we continue making investments to create more resilient, sustainable communities," Gov. Edwards said. "As we continue to press the federal government for additional recovery funds following hurricanes Laura and Delta, we have been working with impacted communities to provide immediate relief to our residents and fund projects that align with federal grant requirements and our state's long-term resilience objectives. Through the Louisiana Watershed Initiative, we are working to address the needs of communities throughout the state with projects like buyouts, where the long-term flood risk reduction benefits are unquestionable."
The Governor's Office says that Friday's announcement is the result of ongoing discussions with city and parish leaders who prioritized the Greinwich Terrace neighborhood as a top candidate for buyouts.
"We've been working with the Louisiana Watershed Initiative to identify solutions that address the impacts of recent storms, and recently zeroed in on the Greinwich Terrace neighborhood as a community best suited for this program," Calcasieu Parish Police Jury President Brian Abshire said. "These buyouts will not only deliver immediate relief to the residents of this area who want to relocate out of harm's way but also provide greater capacity to store water and benefit many more throughout the floodplain and beyond. It is exactly the type of investment we need to help our residents, propel our recovery efforts and give hope to southwest Louisiana that solutions are on the way."
"Lake Charles has been devastated by storms, flooding and other disasters in just the past year alone, demanding quick action and innovative solutions to help our residents recover and position our community to thrive for years to come," Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said. "This program gives our residents a reason to be optimistic about the future, no matter how painful the present, and demonstrates our collective commitment to enacting real change in the flood-prone areas of our state that need it the most."
The state says they will continue to partner with local leaders and agencies as they engage area residents, understand their specific needs and review the buyout options available to them.
LWI is working with watershed regions throughout the state to identify and fund other projects that mitigate future flood risk.
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