Council to be Asked to Sign Off on $1.6M Grant to Aid in Mitigating Damage as Result of August Flooding

By Jeff Toquinto on February 12, 2024 via

Bridgeport Emergency Management Director Tim Curry will be making a presentation to Bridgeport City Council at tonight’s meeting hoping they will sign off on a seven-figure grant application.
Curry’s presentation will come during a 6:30 p.m. work session, which is open to the public. The regular Council meeting, also open to the public, begins at 7 p.m.
The item is one of just three on Council’s agenda. It is the only one that will be discussed in open session. When Council gets to new business, they will be asked to consider and act on a resolution to apply for a hazard mitigation grant from FEMA. The grant, which requires a 25 percent match from the city, would be for a total of $1.6 million.
“The funding would allow us to mitigate some of the hazards that arose during the August 29 storm event that hit the city,” said Curry. “Hopefully, this grant will end up just being a backup plan.”
The “backup plan” is a result of Harrison County recently being included in a federal disaster declaration from FEMA. Because of that, Curry is also working to get the some dollars to address the same main issue at 100 percent through the declaration that makes federal funds available.
“If approved by Council and if the disaster declaration does not cover the cost, then this will be the backup,” said Curry.
So, what is the grant specifically looking to correct?
Curry said the hillside at the Home Depot Plaza has a significant slip during the flooding. The central area in question would be behind Ollie’s in the plaza, but impacting multiple stores in that row that have the back their buildings only separated from the hillside in question by a road.
“The money being used for this would put the hillside back into the condition it was in prior to the rain event. It would ensure that the area would remain stable for at least the next 50 years,” Curry said.
The process to fix the slip would involve engineering and the use of soil nails, which were also used on a slip in the roadway when the Virginia Avenue rail trail was put in place. Soil nails are full threated still bars that are placed into pre-drilled holes and then grouted to keep them in place. The provide reinforcement and stabilization.
Ollie’s, Anytime Fitness, Aaron’s and multiple other businesses were impacted by the mud the came from the hillside.
The two other items on the business portion of the agenda will both be addressed in executive session.
One of the items is already known – Council will discuss the applicants for the open position of Bridgeport City Manager. The other involves advanced planning for Bridgeport Parks and Recreation.
“These are some things (Parks and Recreation Director) Joe (Shuttleworth) has talked about previously for Council to consider,” said Bridgeport Police Chief and Interim City Manager Mark Rogers. “I believe we’ll be taking a bigger look at things.”
The question is what the “things” Rogers is talking about. The vagueness is not by accident. Instead, Rogers and Shuttleworth both say they are multiple projects on city parks property that could happen if funding is available and if funding is approved.
“There are some potential park improvements in the system that we think could be exciting for the community, but we’re just looking at them right now. I’ve presented material to Council for their consideration,” said Shuttleworth. There is a lot to digest, and we hope to get a better grasp on whether Council is on board to move ahead with them.”
The meeting will also include an invocation by Pastor Jeff Vaughan of the Grace Baptist Church. It will also feature a report from Rogers and Mayor Andy Lang and a public comment forum near the start of the meeting.
The meeting will take place at the Bridgeport Municipal Complex.
Editor's Note: Top photos show the mess behind the buildings as a result of the slip at the Home Depot Plaza and the unstable area itself. Bottom photo shows Bridgeport Parks and Recreation Director Joe Shuttleworth.

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