National Disaster Resilience Competition
City of Norfolk & Community Residents
The Cities of Norfolk, Newport News and Chesapeake will benefit from a $120 million U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development National Disaster Resilience Grant, awarded in the recent national competition. Old Dominion University spearheaded the application process, which also includes the Commonwealth of Virginia. The grant will be used to develop strategies to protect the region from effects of sea-level rise and recurrent flooding. WPA is assisting with design ideas for berms and civic green spaces. Attention currently is focused on the Ohio Creek and Newton Creek watersheds, encompassing the Chesterfield Heights neighborhood and parts of downtown Norfolk.
According to the press release announcing the grant, work “aligns with HUD’s National Objective to directly benefit low- and moderate-income residents and households by focusing on unmet recovery needs, as well as building regional resilience capacity to adapt to sea level rise and manage extreme weather events.” There are five major goals, according to the release: “unite the region; create coastal resilience; build water management solutions; improve economic vitality; and strengthen vulnerable neighborhoods. This comprehensive approach is designed to capitalize on the region’s strengths, convert risk and vulnerabilities into economic opportunities, and demonstrate best practices to low-lying areas nationwide.”
WPA’s Mel Price says, “You can’t control water. You have to learn to live with it. The important thing is to solve problems and pass knowledge on to make our city beautiful and inviting.”