After urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to expedite approval for funding for the demolition and relocation of the Town of Hancock's Highway Garage building, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that FEMA has granted a new project plan and will help fund repairs and reconstruction. FEMA initially agreed to fund repairs after the building was submerged in seven feet of water during the June 2006 floods, but additional damage was later discovered. The damage prevented the town from rebuilding on site and forced them to design a new building in a new location. This required the town to submit an amended project plan, requesting more funding. Six months ago, the New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) and town officials submitted this request to FEMA, but had yet to receive a response.
Two weeks ago, Schumer wrote a letter to FEMA urging the agency to approve the application to help the town move forward with construction of a new facility. Today, Senator Schumer announced that FEMA has granted a new project plan so the Town can immediately begin work on a new Highway Garage Building.
"This is an important first step for the Town of Hancock," said Schumer. "These critical funds will allow the Town of Hancock to begin work on a new and improved Highway Building Garage. I am glad that I was able to expedite this longawaited approval so the Town of Hancock can finally begin rebuilding. I will continue to work with local officials to ensure that FEMA holds up its end of the bargain."
In the summer of 2006 the Southern Tier was hit by disastrous flooding, which uprooted families and left widespread destruction in its wake. In recent years, Delaware County, including the Town of Hancock, has been struck particularly hard, suffering several severe weather disasters. When waters raged through the Town of Hancock in June 2006, the Town's Highway Garage building was flooded beyond repair.
After FEMA issued the initial project worksheet for the Highway Garage building, additional damages were uncovered, the building was condemned, and the location was deemed unsafe for reconstruction. In light of these new developments, on July 27, 2007, SEMO and FEMA conducted a joint site visit and noted the additional damage eligible for federal assistance. Local and state officials worked together to compile specifications for the demolition of the condemned building and to commission an engineering proposal for the relocation of the Highway Garage building.
On September 15, 2008, SEMO reviewed the studies and sent a renewed request for a project worksheet but FEMA failed to approve the new project.
To secure an expedited approval of the Town of Hancock and SEMO's request for an updated project worksheet, Schumer wrote FEMA Acting Administrator Ward two weeks ago urging the agency to approve a new project design and location for the building.
Today, Senator Schumer announced that FEMA has replied to his request and issued a new Scope of Work that will allow the Town of Hancock to begin reconstruction on a new Highway Garage Building. FEMA has currently also agreed to reimburse costs up to $885,800.95 for the new garage building.
FEMA will also provide an additional $15,000 for an environmental assessment. The total amount that the town is currently eligible for reimbursement is $900,800.95.