HUD Funds Mid-South Greenprint With $60 Million Grant

By Bill Dries

One of the largest federal grants ever awarded to Shelby County government will fund efforts to avoid some of the flooding the Memphis area saw in 2011.

(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)

The federal department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis announced Thursday, Jan. 21, the $60 million grant to fund the Mid-South Regional Greenprint and Sustainability Plan.

“These funds will help those in Memphis and Shelby County clean up from the devastating floods the area experienced in 2011 and make neighborhoods like Walker Homes and the Mitchell High School area more resilient during future flooding events,” Cohen said in a written statement.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said the federal funding will help protect neighborhoods where flooding is an all too frequent fact of life “and give us new opportunities to expand the greenways and recreation areas along the Mississippi River and its tributaries.”

The 2011 flooding saw the second-highest level ever recorded for the Mississippi River at Memphis – after the record 1937 floods in Memphis.

Nonconnah Creek and the Loosahatchie and Wolf Rivers, tributaries of the Mississippi, also flooded in Shelby County. The Greenprint grant is to specifically address those and other tributaries.

The funding will be specifically used for:

– A new flood plain near Millington called the Big Creek Wetland and Recreation Area that will reduce flooding that residential areas in northern Shelby County saw in 2011. The project will create wetlands and wildlife areas.

– A restoration of the Wolf River in Raleigh and Frayser near Rodney Baber and Kennedy Parks, an area that also includes the northernmost section of the Wolf River Greenway. Baber flooded again in last year’s rise of the Mississippi and its Memphis tributaries. Kennedy Park, where work on the northern section of the greenway began last year, is an important trailhead on the path.

– Relocating homeowners near Weaver Park in southwest Memphis by the Cypress Creek watershed.

– And further identifying flood, earthquake and other catastrophic risks.

All of those projects are under design and expected to be completed in a three-year time period.