Grants announced for Milwaukee-area flood relief

Former Gov. Jim Doyle declared a state of emergency in 31 counties in June 2008, following extensive storms, tornadoes and flooding that struck Wisconsin and much of the Midwest. Since then, the state has received more than $120 million in flood relief grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

However, help is still needed.

Gov. Scott Walker announced last week that four counties along with the village of Hustisford will receive $5 million to fund 19 projects in hopes of completing the recovery process. Milwaukee County is set to receive a $1.35 million portion to support two projects in the 30th Street Industrial Corridor, according to a statement from Walker’s office.

“Wisconsin’s people and businesses have shown spirit and determination in rebuilding their communities after the severe floods of 2008,” Walker said in the statement.  “This federal assistance will help communities repair damage and businesses recover and grow.”

The aid was allocated by the Community Development Block Grant – Emergency Assistance Program, which is a special program the Wisconsin Department of Commerce administers to assist local governments that have recently experienced loss due to natural or man-made disasters. Congress’ Supplemental Allocations for Disaster Recovery funded the grants to provide long-term mitigation assistance.

Walker plans to use $250,000 of Milwaukee County’s grant money to prevent future flooding of DRS Power and Control Technologies Inc.’s facility located in the 30th Street Corridor, including construction of a new flood berm, submarine doors and a tunnel plug. The remaining $1.1 million will be used for flood mitigation and management in the surrounding area, which Walker hopes will spur redevelopment and job creation.

The program funds may be used to repair certain damaged dwellings, publicly owned utility systems, streets, sidewalks and community centers, according to the Department of Commerce. The Emergency Assistance Program does not allow funds to be used for repairs covered by insurance or other grants, cleaning or replacement of furniture, food, clothing or other personal items.

Jefferson County was awarded $1.4 million, including $700,000 for the acquisition and relocation of River’s Edge Market, a meat market and catering service. The village of Hustisford received about $300,000 to be used for river channel improvement, while Columbia and Sauk counties received about $1.4 million and $500,000, respectively.