Senator Bob Gordon and Assembly members Connie Wagner and Tim Eustace (all D-Bergen/Passaic) on Wednesday announced the approval of nearly half of a million dollars in state funding to help the town of Saddle Brook acquire homes in flood-prone zones.
Saddle Brook, which is bound by the Passaic and Saddle rivers, has been hit hard by flooding in recent years. In total, the town will receive $487,500 to assist with the purchase of eight flood-prone properties. The funding will also be used to leverage Federal Emergency Management Agency grants that are used for the same purpose.
“While far from the broad-based solution our region needs to protect itself from devastating flooding, it is good to see the state stepping up to partner with Saddle Brook in this important first step,” said Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Blue Acres funding is vital to ending the cycle of flood-and-repair that has frayed families and family finances. It will also create important new open space for residents to enjoy in dry times, as well as give flood waters a place to flow away from residential areas.”
“This is certainly welcome news, especially for residents that are still struggling to recover from the damage incurred over a year ago by Hurricane Irene,” said Wagner. “When coupled with funding from the federal government, this is the light at the end of the tunnel for homeowners who have struggled to bail themselves out from the increasing number of storms that have brought record flooding to our area.”
“Rather than continuously applying a band-aid approach that ends up being more costly in the long-run, the Blue Acres program helps provide a solution, once and for all, to the persistent flooding that has caused nightmares for many residents bound by the Saddle and Passaic Rivers,” said Eustace.
The funding comes from the state’s Blue Acres program, which helps provide for the acquisition of lands in the floodways of rivers, and their respective tributaries, for recreation and conservation purposes. Eligible flood prone properties are those that have been damaged by, or may be prone to incurring damage caused by, storms or storm-related flooding, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage. Blue Acres acquisitions must be from willing sellers.