The city’s governing body approved the purchase of 30 flood prone properties along the Passaic River in the Northside with $2.1 million in disaster recovery funds.
Majority of the properties are vacant lots. 14 of the properties being purchased are on East Holsman Street, 13 on Watson Street, 3 on North Bridge Street, and 1 on Bergen Street, according to city records.
The properties were selected based on their proximity to the river, flood risk, among other criteria, according to city documents. So far the city has purchased 16 Bergen Street, according to documents, after pressure from county and state government.
22 property owners have expressed interest in the program which is one of two the city is running to purchase flood properties using money it received after flood water from Hurricane Irene inundated much of the Northside section.
The $2,075,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) was channeled via the state and the county.
The city’s other program called the Northside Buyback Program is the larger of the two. The buyback program designed to purchase flood prone homes is funded through $5.6 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Ruby Cotton, 4th Ward councilwoman, asked a price list of the properties. Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large, said the council members have yet to see such a list.
Business administrator Nellie Pou said council members will be provided with the amount of money the city will disburse for each of the properties at a future date.
Initial appraisal has been completed on 10 properties, according to city records. The properties being acquired are contagious, according to city officials.
After the properties have been acquired the city intends to convert the area into a river walk or a park. The municipality will receive more CDBG funding to undertake the open space project, according to city records.
“This has been an on-going uphill battle,” said Cotton.
The city has been slow to implement the buyback programs.
Council members approved the purchase of the properties during their regular meeting on Tuesday evening.
Correction (Oct. 3, 2016): This report erroneously stated the council approved the purchase of 31 properties when in fact 30 properties were approved for purchase.