South Pittsburg, Tenn., gets state flood recovery grant

South Pittsburg, Tenn., gets state flood recovery grant

August 7th, 2013 by Alex Green in Local Regional News

South Pittsburg businesswoman and former educator Jane Dawkins

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Nearly a month after floodwaters devastated parts of South Pittsburg, Tenn., the Tennessee Housing Development Agency announced Tuesday that a $300,000 nonmatching grant is going to the town for residential recovery.

The Rebuild and Recover grant provides “assistance options includ[ing] loans for home repairs and rental assistance,” a THDA news release states.

The Rebuild and Recover grant program provides financial assistance for areas affected by natural disasters that are not eligible for federal aid, according to the release.

South Pittsburg was notified days after the July 12 flooding that it did not qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency or TEMA assistance. A minimum of $8.5 million in damage is the requirement for those organizations’ financial aid.

South Pittsburg City Administrator Sammy Burrows said Tuesday that city officials found out that day about the grant.

“It’s of course a pleasant surprise for us,” he said.

Mayor Jane Dawkins said also that Tuesday was the first she knew of the grant. She said city officials don’t know yet who will facilitate the funds and what the provisions will be to receive them.

THDA officials will be in South Pittsburg on Thursday to hash out those details.

“We’re hoping that we’ll all find out together,” Dawkins said.

Charmaine McNeilly, communications coordinator for THDA, said Tuesday that the Rebuild and Recover grants are a pilot program, and South Pittsburg is only the fourth Tennessee community to receive that type of grant. Dry Creek, Bethel Springs and Carlisle were the first three, she said.

She said the money is only for “owner-occupied housing, demolition of damaged structures or relocation of a house out of the floodplain.”

McNeilly said that, despite not qualifying for federal aid, communities smacked by natural disasters still need a hand cleaning up.

“These communities still need help,” she said.

<em>Contact staff writer Alex Green at 423-757-6731 or agreen@timesfreepress.com.</em>