Flood mitigation: Brattleboro awards bid for Western Avenue demolition

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BRATTLEBORO — A property that suffered extensive damages at the hands of Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 will be demolished with grant assistance.

"It's to restore the property to a natural condition," Assistant Town Manager Patrick Moreland told the Select Board on June 21.

At the meeting, the board approved of hiring the Guilford-based Bernie LaRock & Son Inc. for demolition work. The company's bid, $30,200, was the lowest of three.

The town received a Hazard Mitigation Grant from Vermont Emergency Management for 75 percent of the cost to purchase 805 Western Avenue, at a market value predating the flood, and demolish all the structures. The grant program is funded through FEMA. The rest of the 25 percent total project cost will be covered by a Community Development Block Grant awarded to the town and administered for the state by Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission.

Together, Moreland said, the grants will provide all necessary funding for the project. The budget calls for approximately $319,468.

The town closed on purchasing the property on May 11 with all back taxes and utility fees paid in full. The grant program requires the town to have demolition completed within 90 days of closing, meaning Aug. 9.

The goals of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program include reducing future liabilities at properties known for flooding and reducing the likelihood of damage occurring downstream, Moreland said. The remaining structure on Western Avenue "under certain flood conditions could make its way downstream and do harm to other properties," he added.

"Secondarily, the program provides meaningful resources to the victims of a flood," Moreland said. "The property owners were able to sell the property and are, as I understand it, seeking higher ground in Brattleboro for a new home."

Contact Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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