Author | Carissa Lord
There are planners and there are doers. Sometimes planners (not to be confused with the capital P Planners) are great at brainstorming ideas for what to do next. It’s only after an event that lessons learned become evident. Like the armchair quarterback on a Monday morning, it’s easy to see what SHOULD have been done during the final minute of the game. A smart team (or community) will apply those lessons learned to make them stronger next time.
Here in New England, we are always challenged by Mother Nature to be ready for all sorts of weather. If it’s not a major snowstorm, then it’s a hurricane, microburst, or spring flood that we are preparing for or recovering from. As we tally up the damages, it’s inevitable to think about what SHOULD have been done to reduce the losses to infrastructure and disruption of services.
A planner will brainstorm ideas, talk about making changes, and even write plans. A doer will take it a step further and secure funding to improve their town’s stormwater conveyance capacity. It’s the doers that deserve some additional credit.
Below are examples of projects that got off the ground after careful planning and are currently improving their communities’ resiliency.
The City is currently acquiring private homes in the floodway and returning the area to open space. Residents, the City, the State of Rhode Island, FEMA, and other national agencies support this voluntary buyout program as is evident by funding the project continues to receive.
Westerly and Bristol
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Towns of Westerly and Bristol each received construction funding to improve street drainage infrastructure in low-income neighborhoods. By pairing EDA and CDBG-DR grants, they were able to maximize their investment.
These successes did not happen on a whim. They were part of a larger planning effort. What got them to the next step was identifying funding opportunities, having project details already ready to go, and being prepared to show how the project benefits would outweigh the losses.
And don’t forget that $1 spent on mitigation provides on average $4 in benefits.
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