Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 28, 2014

Mercer continues flood mitigation efforts

PRINCETON — Flood mitigation efforts continue in Mercer County as the county commission seeks bids from contractors willing to remove asbestos from another flood zone home scheduled to be demolished.

The Mercer County Commission recently advertised in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph for contractors able to remove asbestos from a structure on Kellysville Road. A second house and a mobile home are also scheduled for demolition as part of a Federal Emergency Management Agency flood mitigation program, according to County Coordinator Vicky Reed.

“They have flooded out several times,” Reed said Thursday.

After a flood has occurred, FEMA contacts the county commission, which then schedules a public hearing, she said. People whose homes have been flooded out then come to the Mercer County Courthouse and fill out applications. FEMA officials then review their cases and check on county maps to see whether the properties are in a flood zone. The program has been in operation since the 1990s.

“Over the years, we’ve had several,” Reed said of the flooded out homes purchased by the FEMA program. “We have had approximately a dozen over the years since the late 1990s.”

FEMA keeps buying out properties on local flood plains occasionally.

“This happens from time to time during the year,” said Mercer County Commission President Mike Vinciguerra. “Houses will flood, FEMA will buy them out, and we have to have the asbestos taken out of them, and have them torn down.”

New structures cannot be built in the flood zone after the structures have been demolished. The neighbors at the Kellysville Road properties have asked if they can use the land for a garden, Vinciguerra said. These types of activities are possible since a flood would not impact them.

The sites are visited after a home is torn down to make sure nobody is building anything new, he said.

“We have to go back and make sure nobody’s trying to put another (home) on it. We double check all of our spots to make sure nobody’s building on it,” Vinciguerra said.

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