Blackfoot gets FEMA grant

Staff Writer

Amidst all of the news of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, some residents of Blackfoot may be recalling Aug. 2014. While it was no Hurricane Katrina or Harvey, Southeast Idaho had a downpour of over 6 inches of rain in less than 45 minutes and more than 100 homes were flooded.
After the storm and flooding passed, the city of Blackfoot applied for a grant with FEMA and was recently awarded $1,637,995 in a federal grant.
The grant money was hoped for a little sooner, according to Mayor Paul Loomis, ideally they would have liked to undertake this project a little sooner, having it underway or completed by this fall, but the “project designs are 90 percent complete and we just need to bid it out at this point.”
The projected project will cost $2,620,000, with the city of Blackfoot contributing $600,000. As Loomis spoke to the Morning News, he was on his way out to a meeting with the U.S. Core Engineers who were proposing to extend another grant of $600,000 for the projected project, which would provide further amenities to the second phase of the project. Phase I has already been completed through the Blackfoot Waste Water Management.
The awarded grant money will fund a stormwater retrofit project. Currently the storm drainage trunk line in Jensen Grove Drive only has a 12 in. pipe and this will be upgraded to a 48 in. pipe, along with upgrading the trunk line in Parkway Dr. From a 24 in. pipe to a 36 in. pipe.
A small lift station will also be included to pump out, drain and empty a section of storm sewer drainage which has currently remained full after every storm event. The project is projected to increase the capacity of the storm sewer and alleviate the bottlenecks that have been identified in this area by reducing flooding.
Loomis added that the drainage area will be the marsh area of Jensen’s Grove, which will filter the water through natural vegetation in the marsh before it is released into the lake area, keeping the water filtration process ecologically sound.
The award is a product of the Robert T. Stafford Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and Loomis hopes that by being more prepared with this grant, the city and homeowners will have less natural disasters to deal with in the future.