FEMA Approves Mount Vernon's Proposed Downtown Flood Protection Project

On August 24, 2010, the City of Mount Vernon was notified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that FEMA has approved the City's request for a Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR) for the City's proposed downtown flood protection project. A CLOMR is FEMA's comment on a proposed project that would, upon construction, be recognized by FEMA and thus result in the modification of the regulatory floodplain identified on effective National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) maps.

Once the flood project is completed and certified by an engineer to the design approved through the CLOMR, the City can then request a revision to FEMA's Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) to reflect the project and remove Mount Vernon's historic downtown from the 100-year floodplain.

For the past six years, Mount Vernon has worked diligently on designing a project to protect its downtown core from flooding and allow for the historic downtown to be revitalized. This included an exhaustive public process providing for local input, evaluating the environmental and flood related impacts, and coordinating with local, state and federal agencies.

The result is a project that includes a 1.75 mile river promenade and riverfront park enhancing public river access and providing more public open space downtown near the river. It is anticipated that the combination of increased flood protection and riverfront amenities will attract mixed use redevelopment, generate jobs and increase housing resulting in a larger commercial tax base while preserving Mount Vernon's downtown character. The project is fully permitted, designed and ready for construction. The first phase between Lion's Park and the Division Street Bridge was completed in 2010 and construction on the second phase is to begin in 2013.

Mount Vernon City officials have been working with FEMA officials to follow the appropriate steps and process in order to design a flood protection project, that once constructed, receives a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) removing downtown Mount Vernon from the 100-year floodplain. The engineering firm Pacific International Engineering, PLLC designed and provided the engineering studies which formed the basis of FEMA's approval. FEMA's rigorous review, high standards and ultimate approval acknowledges the soundness of and high quality of design work the City received.