Nashville officials charged with flood control want $5 million to buy more homes in flood-prone areas.
They’re pitching the expense as a balance to the $110 million they hope to spend on a floodwall to protect downtown. The floodwall continues to receive pushback because of its focus on the city’s central business district.
Carolyn McClain is no stranger to buyouts. She has been through the process three times — most recently after the flood of 2010, when her Pennington Bend house was under five-and-a-half feet of water. She sold the house by the Cumberland River to the government only because she couldn’t afford to salvage it herself.
“If the government had just given me the money to rebuild, I would still be there because I still love that river. Most of the people who live on that river, that’s why they’re there. If you got worries, you can just throw them in that river and they’re gone. Like most of my furniture,” McClain said.
Her old street, Miami Avenue, is a checkerboard of renovated houses and empty lots of people who let their homes be bulldozed. And city officials hope to keep the demolition going, even though it has gotten more expensive. There’s no longer state money involved. But Metro Water Services director Scott Potter says buyouts are still the answer for these flood-prone areas outside of downtown.
“A floodwall application in a lot of other areas of the county just isn’t going to be economically feasible. And that goes back to the engineering statement that generally speaking, we can do anything — provided that we have enormous amounts of money,” Potter said. “But the problem is that may not be the best investment.”