After last summer’s devastating flood, some Baldwin Street residents said they wished they could just sell their property and leave.
They might soon get that chance.
Next month, Bridgeville will ask FEMA for grant money to purchase real estate from willing sellers in the flood-prone Baldwin Street corridor.
If the borough’s grant application is approved, residential property owners would have the opportunity to sell their land to the borough at pre-flood values, as determined by an assessment.
The program would be entirely voluntary, said borough manager Lori Collins.
“If the appraisal comes back and [a resident] is not happy with it, they can withdraw their application,” she said.
If a resident decides to sell, FEMA would cover 80% of the purchase price, with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency paying the remaining 20%, according to the Signal-Item.
The property would then be owned by the borough. The grant rules stipulate that FEMA that any land acquired through the program be converted to greenspace.
However, Collins pointed out, the borough could use the land for other purposes if FEMA approves.
Last fall, the borough planning commission recommended a proposal to radically transform the Baldwin Street corridor while also addressing the area’s ongoing flood risk. Acquiring property is the first step in that plan.
To determine whether residents actually want to sell their homes, Bridgeville sent surveys to approximately 40 property owners on Baldwin Street corridor. Eleven people responded. Between 8 to 10 of those people plan to start the sale process (assuming that FEMA approves Bridgeville’s grant request).
This could be a good deal for people looking to leave Baldwin Street, but the deal would be less sweet for people who had flood insurance last summer but didn’t spend their insurance payout on home repairs. In those cases, the amount of the insurance payout will be deducted from the property sale price.