Pelham flood grant awaiting congressional approval

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A grant aimed at helping to address flooding problems off Shelby County 261 in Pelham is awaiting congressional approval after city officials presented details of a recent flood to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The announcement came during a Sept. 10 Pelham City Council work session, during which Findley Frazier with the Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood engineering and design firm presented an update on the project.

“The grant has passed the internal reviews of FEMA, and has gone on to Washington for congressional approval,” Frazier said. “We hope to have approval of funds within a month.”

Fraziers’s news came several weeks after heavy rains flooded several parts of the city, including the Saddle Run and Stratford Place subdivisions off Shelby County 261. Residents of the two neighborhoods came to two previous City Council meetings to request the city address flooding in the area.

After the flood, city crews documented the damage and forwarded reports to FEMA to consider along with the grant application, which was submitted in 2009.

If awarded, the grant would help fund about $1.7 million in drainage upgrades to the area surrounding the two neighborhoods. Frazier said the project submitted to FEMA included upgrading a detention pond in the Chadwick neighborhood and installing new detention ponds in Saddle Run and on the Alabama Power substation property.

“The goal with this was how can we keep it from flooding downstream while not creating flooding upstream?” Frazier said.

In other business during the Sept. 10 meeting, Pelham Mayor Don Murphy asked Council President Teresa Nichols to appoint a committee consisting of council members Karyl Rice and Ron Scott and incoming council member Rick Hayes to negotiate the city’s purchase of the former Moore-Handley property.

During a mid-June meeting, the council voted unanimously to allow Murphy to negotiate the purchase of the Moore-Handley building with the HHH Acquisition Company. The city is looking to partner with Shelby County and the county Economic and Industrial Development authority to purchase the property and lease a portion to the Summer Classics furniture company.

“It’s not right for me to negotiate a deal that they (the incoming council members) would have to live under,” said Murphy, who will not be returning for another term.