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Feds give $3 million to elevate flood-prone Ocean City homes

February 26, 2021 GMT
Flood waters cover the street, sidewalks and lawns of a neighborhood in Ocean City, N.J. on Oct. 30, 2020. The city is dealing with the costs of rising sea levels, both in monetary terms and in the disruption that recurring flooding brings. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
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Flood waters cover the street, sidewalks and lawns of a neighborhood in Ocean City, N.J. on Oct. 30, 2020. The city is dealing with the costs of rising sea levels, both in monetary terms and in the disruption that recurring flooding brings. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
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Flood waters cover the street, sidewalks and lawns of a neighborhood in Ocean City, N.J. on Oct. 30, 2020. The city is dealing with the costs of rising sea levels, both in monetary terms and in the disruption that recurring flooding brings. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

OCEAN CITY, N.J. (AP) — The federal government is giving more than $8 million to two New Jersey towns to elevate flood-prone homes, including a Jersey Shore resort dealing with the effects of rising sea levels.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Friday said it approved more than $5 million for Fairfield in Essex County, and more than $3 million for Ocean City in Cape May County.

Elevating homes is one part of a many pronged approach vulnerable areas are employing in flood-prone areas. Other measures include constructing man-made and natural barriers, and buying out and razing buildings in areas that repeatedly flood.

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“The elevation of flood-prone homes is an important part of New Jersey’s long-term resiliency efforts and provides families much-needed peace of mind,” said U.S. Sen. Cory Booker. “This federal investment will strengthen New Jersey communities, help mitigate against future disasters, and save lives.”

The Fairfield money will pay to elevate 22 homes, and the Ocean City funding will elevate seven multifamily buildings in the Ocean Aire Condominiums, totaling 52 units.

The money came from a grant application the city submitted in 2019 on behalf of the condominium association, Doug Bergen, an Ocean City spokesperson, said.

The units are all classified as “severe repetitive loss,” based on having flooded multiple times, he said.

Ocean City for decades has been dealing with flooding caused not only by coastal storms but also by rising sea levels.

From 2014 through 2025, the city will have spent more than $87 million on flood control and drainage projects.

It recently intensified an island-wide effort to improve drainage. That includes laying more drain pipes, building additional pumping stations, elevating roadways and sidewalks, and repairing bulkheads.

The city’s latest five-year plan will cost $25 million for six projects.

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Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC