OTTAWA — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $746,077 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to the Village of Ottawa for the acquisition and demolition of nine residential structures and the acquisition of one adjacent vacant parcel located in the Blanchard River floodplain.

“This award is for what the Village has been referencing as “Project #2”, the buyout of nine floodprone residential structures located in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA),” explained Denise Balbaugh, Ottawa Certified Floodplain Administrator.

Through HMGP, FEMA will pay 75 percent of the $994,769 eligible project cost. The remaining 25 percent of the funds, $248,692, will be provided by the State of Ohio and the Village of Ottawa.

“The Village share will be covered by a portion of the three million dollars appropriated by the State Legislature for the Blanchard River Watershed Flood Mitigation Grant Fund,” said Balbaugh.

Balbaugh clarified that property owners involved in this project have all volunteered to participate and have the option to accept or decline the Village’s buyout offer. Properties acquired will become permanent greenspace providing open areas to hold and absorb flood water.

The next step will involve completing the paperwork required to officially accept the funds. Part of that process was completed on Jan. 27 as Village of Ottawa council members approved Mayor Meyer’s signature on the grant agreement. Once all paperwork is completed, the Village can begin ordering appraisals of the properties. Appraisals will be conducted in order of benefit/cost ranking, with the top five ranked properties appraised first.

This grant is the second of three HMGP applications submitted to FEMA for approval. The first project was approved by FEMA in July and is in the appraisal/buyout offer phase. A third project has been submitted to FEMA for approval consideration.