City of Charleston hopes to get $6.7 million from FEMA for downtown drainage project

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 2:24 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2021 at 6:35 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston is hoping to get millions of dollars through a FEMA grant to go toward a project designed to reduce flooding downtown.

On Tuesday night, city council voted to apply for the grant. The funds would go toward building a pump station on Huger Street as part of a major drainage improvement project downtown.

“That intersection is highly trafficked by commuters, it’s the evacuation route for storm events, part of the public bus route, and it’s a critical roadway for first responders during emergencies,” Steve Kirk, a senior engineering project manager for the City of Charleston, says. “Of course, the project is going to benefit the residents, the businesses, the schools, public housing, and other critical infrastructure in that project area.”

The grant request is for more than $9.5 million. It would be a 70/30 split, where FEMA would be responsible for 70 percent of the funds and the city would be responsible for the remaining 30 percent, according to Kirk, meaning about $6.7 million would come from FEMA and $2.9 million would come from the city.

That money would go toward the design and construction of the project.

“The city of Charleston has already allocated the money for this project, but receiving this grant would save us $6.7 million and would allow us to apply it to other necessary projects,” Kirk says.

The city is currently in phase one of the project, which involves upsizing the stormwater drainage system in order to prepare for the pump station. Phase one of the project is expected to wrap up by December, according to Kirk.

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