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This is a City Capital Improvement Project to address current drainage issues in the historic downtown. The project will improve both storm event flooding and nuisance flooding from tides. This will be accomplished through upgrades of the existing stormwater infrastructure, installation of a new stormwater pump station, and construction of a flood wall.
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The project construction will be limited to Granada, Cordova and Bridge streets, south of King Street (for the stormwater infrastructure upgrades). There will also be construction on South Street where Lake Maria Sanchez drains into the existing marsh for the stormwater pump station. Finally, the flood wall will be located on the south side of South Street, between the upland (higher ground) and wetlands/marsh. However, the project area benefiting from the stormwater improvements is approximately 200 acres. This is bordered by Martin Luther King Avenue on the West, Avenida Menendez on the East, South Street on the south and Saragossa Street to the north. Please refer to the Basis of Design Report for the project scope and location details.
This project was originally identified in the City’s Stormwater Master Plan Update from 2013. After Hurricane Matthew, the City saw an opportunity to expand the project scope to address the primary flooding issues in the historic downtown, such as certain storm events and also nuisance tidal flooding events. The City applied to FEMA under their Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) in 2017 and was awarded the funding in 2018. This was the #1 ranked project in St. Johns County by the Local Mitigation Strategy Task Force.
Per FEMA’s website: FEMA’s vision is to serve as a catalyst that drives increased understanding and proactive action to help people in communities reduce their losses from natural hazards. To support this vision, FEMA funds three Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs. Hazard mitigation measures are any sustainable action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from future disasters. The HMGP supports cost-effective post-disaster projects and is the longest-running mitigation program among FEMA’s three grant programs. Studies have shown that every $1 spent equals $6 of future damages mitigated. The purpose of HMGP is to help communities implement hazard mitigation measures following a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration in the areas of the state, tribe, or territory requested by the Governor or Tribal Executive. The key purpose of this grant program is to enact mitigation measures that reduce the risk of loss of life and property from future disasters.
Per the St. Johns County website: In the spring of 1998, the Florida Department of Community Affairs initiated a program to assist local government in developing plans to reduce or eliminate risks to people and property from natural and man-made hazards known as the Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS). The primary objective of the Local Mitigation Strategy is to remove, if possible, or otherwise to limit the losses of life and property due to a disaster. In August of 1998 a St. Johns County LMS Taskforce was organized from a broad cross-section of the County including elected officials, County Staff, representatives from the cities of St. Augustine, Hastings, and St. Augustine Beach, Flagler Estates Road and Water District, Florida Department of Health – St. Johns, Florida Forest Service and Flagler Hospital alongside local businesses and residents. The LMS Taskforce, led by the St. Johns County Division of Emergency Management, has been responsible for developing all work products for the Local Mitigation Strategy including the development of a set of guiding principles, identification of potential hazards affecting the community; identification of people and infrastructure which are vulnerable to hazards; identification of critical facilities which are necessary for maintaining health, safety and welfare of residents before, during, and after a catastrophic event; and the development of a prioritized list of pre and post hazard mitigation initiatives (projects) eligible for funding. The Local Mitigation Strategy is intended to provide one unified program for St. Johns County and its incorporated municipalities.