Over the last year since hurricane Florence, the City of New Bern has applied for several grants to assist with storm recovery, mitigation and resiliency. Recently, the City learned it would receive another grant – this one for $15,000 from the Duke Energy Foundation Resiliency Grants initiative - to fund a flood mitigation plan. This brings the total grant monies for resiliency planning to $45,000.
The flood resiliency plan consists of three phases. The first phase will include data collection, a comprehensive look at the extent of impact to our area and the structural damages to commercial, residential, and municipal buildings. The second phase of the plan involves assessment of those impacts. This phase will identify local and regional vulnerabilities and the social, economic and environmental consequences of hazard events. The third and final phase of flood resiliency planning will be compilation and distribution of a list of mitigation and resilience recommendations for the City. A separate list will be created specifically for home and business owners. These recommendations will address the unique needs of each of the City’s neighborhoods. Then, outcomes and recommendations will be prioritized for implementation. The community will be involved in all three phases. Overall, the flood resiliency plan is estimated to cost the city about $90,000.
The City announced in mid-July that phase one of the flood resiliency plan was fully funded, thanks to grants from Duke Energy Foundation’s Local Impact Grant initiative ($5,000 through Swiss Bear, Inc.), the National Trust for Historic Preservation ($10,000) and Wells Fargo ($15,000). The $15,000 Duke Energy Foundation grant will be used to fund phase two of the flood resiliency plan, estimated to cost about $40,000.
“Flooding is the most frequent natural hazard, yet many of our communities are not equipped to deal with the consequences of floods,” said Mark Stephens, City Manager. “Once it is fully developed, this plan will help us determine the best ways to reshape existing systems so that New Bern is less flood vulnerable and more flood resilient.” The City will create a plan that is easily replicable for similar coastal cities and towns along the eastern seaboard of the U.S.
According to a Duke Energy representative, the Foundation received requests for over $6.2 million dollars and only had funding for just over $1 million.
“The overwhelming response to this grant opportunity underscores the profound need of our communities – many still recovering from the devastation of last year’s storms,” said Stephen De May, North Carolina president, Duke Energy. “We want to help our communities become more resilient to the impacts of a major storm.”
In the coming months, the City will publish a Request for Qualifications/Proposals to engage an experienced consulting firm to develop the flood resiliency plan. Additional grants are being sought to fund the rest of phase two and phase three.