Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In The News - TV 59 Reports 2006

Fayette County Floodplain Area Faces Buyout
Posted 1/19/2006 11:26 PM

Communities from Kilsyth to Thurmond are getting answers
Story by Rontina McCann Email | Bio

A community meeting Thursday night in Glen Jean provided answers for many people.

People who live in the communities from Kilsyth to Thurmond, along Dunloup Creek, could get relief from floodwaters. This is a landmark decision by a division of the U.S.D.A., because that agency has never participated in a major floodplain buyout in West Virginia.

But people who there have concerns.

For Anita D'Angelo of Glen Jean and her family, this is a big decision. Leave the family home, full of memories and history, or stay and remain in danger. But there's also the economic concern of being able to move out of a floodplain. "My main concern is the market value. We keep putting money in our homes to make improvements, but our homes are worthless," D'Angelo says.

Since May 2004, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, or N.R.C.S., has been performing a study and collecting data. The agency is part of the U.S.D.A. The conclusion is that the most efficient thing to do is buy out the homeowners, starting with the houses that are most threatened. Ernest Wickline, who's the chairman of the Dunloup Creek Watershed, says this is going to be a big process, and it'll take time.

The N.R.C.S. should have a complete proposal of the buyout by July. "People, then, will make their decision of whether or not to take the voluntary buy and sell and not live in a floodplain," Mike Shumate says.

Shumate is on the Dunloup Creek Watershed Association. He says that the N.R.C.S. has looked at every engineering solution to fix the problem and protect the homes. But none is as efficient, safe and economic as the proposed voluntary buyout.

Close to 200 homes are in the area.

The next public meeting hosted by the Watershed and N.R.C.S. will be on March 20th. The location is still to be determined.


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