Westerly to receive $1.1M for flood protection, wetlands

Posted 1/9/13

WESTERLY – The town of Westerly will receive more than $1.1 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Grant funding to acquire flood-damaged properties on Canal Street, members of Congress from Rhode Island announced Wednesday.

The federal funds will allow for the acquisition of five residential and three non-residential properties that have repeatedly flooded and that were badly damaged in the 2010 floods.

“Following the many severe storms of the past few years, it is time to revisit what the appropriate uses of certain coastal properties and land along our coast might be,” U.S. Rep. James R. Langevin said in a statement. “Town leaders have done a fantastic job working with state and federal officials to advocate for projects like this one that will best serve the community over the long term.”

Once the Canal Street properties have been acquired, they will be removed and the area will be razed, graded and reused for wetlands restoration and dedicated to green space.

“This is good news for Westerly that should help accelerate progress on Canal Street. This federal grant is a testament to the hard work and cooperative efforts of Westerly officials, state and local leaders, FEMA and other federal partners,” U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said in prepared remarks. “This federal investment will help preserve open space while preventing future flood damage.”

Canal Street, in Westerly’s North End, was heavily affected by the floods of 2010. According to a release, the low-lying area includes roughly 33 acres of a historical manufacturing complex established in 1900.

The town of Westerly already has used R.I. Department of Environmental Management open space funds to purchase the site of a former gas station and sheet metal shop. The four-acre property will be turned into a waterfront park on 1,500 feet of the Pawcatuck River.

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