MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has reached the final phase of a competition for a large federal grant that would be used to ease flooding concerns in the Manhattan area, according to the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
The department said recently that the state’s grant application to remodel the Wildcat Creek Watershed reached the final phase of a Department of Housing and Urban Development competition. The grant could bring up to $40 million of emergency and long-range improvement money, The Manhattan Mercury reported.
The money comes from a $1 billion surplus from the federal government’s efforts to rebuild portions of the East Coast after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. HUD is making the funds available to U.S. states, cities or counties that suffered a natural disaster between 2011 and 2013.
Tom Morey, state director of the National Flood Insurance Program, said Manhattan and Riley County qualified because of the Wildcat Creek flood in 2011. He said Kansas created a model called the Wildcat Creek Watershed Resiliency Program with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, the Flint Hills Regional Council, Riley County, the city of Manhattan and other stakeholders along the creek.
The Agriculture Department submitted the initial grant application in March, and HUD recently notified the state that it was one of 40 communities that had advanced to Phase 2 of the process.
Chad Bunger, Manhattan senior planner, said the Kansas team will now make specific recommendations about the program and show “exactly how we’d use the money” by Oct. 27. Bunger said HUD is expected to announce the awards in January.
Public input is also being sought for the program, with the first public meeting scheduled for Wednesday.
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