Metro Nashville government demolishes 400th flood-prone home

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Metro Nashville Government demolished its 400th flood-prone home as part of a years-long effort to avoid having properties on land with a significant risk for flooding.

One swing at a time an excavator tore apart a home on Currey Road in South Nashville.

“Very often, the only way to eliminate flooding is to remove a home,” said Sonia Allman with Metro Water Services.

That’s what the Metro Nashville Government is doing to homes on properties that are prone to flooding which are more likely in floodplains or floodways.

“When you look at a map of this area, the creek behind the homes extends out into the floodway during heavy rains, and a floodway is an area where water continues to flow even when it’s out of the banks and it’s pretty dangerous,” said Allman, adding that floodplains typically have standing water instead.

That same area of Currey Road was inundated with floodwaters back in March, prompting water rescues during severe rainfall.

“When you have homes in these dangerous flood-prone areas, not only is the property owner at risk living there but potentially you’re putting first responders at risk if they have to come and evacuate,” Allman said.

She said they had to take this home down because not only did the area flood in recent weeks, it also flooded back in May of 2010. 

“Even before 2010 we had purchased homes,” she said. “After 2010 clearly we had a lot of mitigation money come in.”

Some homes are purchased with 100 percent metro money, and others with matching funds from FEMA, TEMA, or in this case, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The homes were chosen based on their location in a flood hazard area and the level of damage they sustained from floods.

“We reached out to these property owners in June of 2020, letting them know that they qualified for this program and were they interested in selling,” said Allman.

Metro leaders said when the property is appraised, they offer based on the fair market value.

“Many of these property owners, it’s very difficult for them to sell their homes because they’ve been damaged or there’s a record of previous damage,” said Allman.

She says before the 1980s, there were no regulations so development could happen anywhere and there wasn’t good enough technology to create the mapping used today. This property is now owned by Metro Government, so once it is cleared it can’t be built on again.

“At times they’ll become parks or they become community gardens,” Allman explained. “Otherwise they become nice, green, mowed space that we often plant trees on that can flood as it naturally will and will continue to do, but it’s not causing any damage.”

Metro leaders are trying to get mitigation funding now for the most recent flooding in March, but they have to have a presidential disaster declaration in place before FEMA will release any funds.

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