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FEMA buyouts OK’d in Follansbee

FLOOD PREVENTION EYED — Follansbee 4th Ward Councilwoman Alexis Russell, right, makes a point Monday as council receives an update on the acquisition of two properties along Allegheny Creek that city officials plan to raze to deter flooding there. (Photo by Warren Scott)

FOLLANSBEE — City officials are moving forward with plans to purchase two buildings along Allegheny Creek in an effort to prevent flooding there.

Follansbee Council has approved the $32,000 purchase of a home at 539 Allegheny St. from its owner, Mark Scott, with the city to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

As part of FEMA’s buyout program, the city will raze the house and as owner of the property, ensure no other structures are built on the site.

The program’s purpose is to prevent the federal agency from paying multiple times for damages sustained by flood-prone properties.

But the move also helps to reduce the risk of recurring flood from the creek, which flows through a culvert that extends beneath a driveway to the home.

A buildup in the creek of debris and trash, combined with heavy rainfall, have resulted in extensive flooding from the creek as recently as 2016.

City officials also are in talks with the owner of the two-story brick building just west of the house at 531 Allegheny Creek, which sits over the culvert and also has been approved for the buy-out program.

In other business:

¯ Leaders of Emrys Watkins American Legion Post 45 agreed to meet with Mayor David Velegol Jr., Water Superintendent Jack McIntosh and 3rd Ward Councilwoman Kathy Santoro to discuss potential plans and designs for a new fountain for the Cross Creek War Memorial just outside the post.

Council has allocated up to $10,000 for a new fountain, including plumbing expected to prevent the occurrence of algae that has left the current one discolored in places.

¯ Fourth Ward Councilwoman Alexis Russell said she consulted residents who requested a Stop sign at Walker Road and Woodland Street to deter speeding there.

Street Superintendent Steve Meca had advised residents there years ago requested a Slow sign there because drivers tended to slide when stopping on the sloped road during icy conditions.

Russell said in light of that, residents there have asked for the Slow sign to be replaced with a Stop sign only during the warmer months.

¯ Velegol said plans to recognize Ryan Bilby for his accomplishments as a Brooke High School golf team member were postponed following the death Saturday of his coach, Ron Ujcich.

Council instead observed a moment of silence for Ujcich and his family.

¯ Council approved treat hours of 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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