Berkeley Lake Receives $2.6 Million FEMA Grant

Friday the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced the federal funds, which will be used to repair the city's earthen dam damaged in 2009, is on its way.


The check is in the mail - well, so to speak.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Administrator Phil May announced on Jan. 20, 2012 that the would receive $2,607,750 in grant funds to repair the city's earthen dam which was damaged after historic flooding in September 2009.

The total projected cost of repairs is estimated to be $3,580,558. FEMA provides the money to the state, which then relays the funds to the city.

"This grant will help the city of Berkeley Lake recover financially from one of Georgia's worst natural disasters and at the same time help to make it safer against any future one," said May in a press release.

"Disaster, flooding in particular, can really debilitate a community's infrastructure, and with it, its financial outlook. The grants are the helping hand to recovery."

The city of Berkeley Lake began the process of filing a claim with FEMA in early 2010, filing engineering reports and studies to support its claim. The two-year journey has finally come to and end. Its mayor, Lois Salter, and the city's 2,000 residents may now finally let out a collective sigh of relief.

"It has ... been a long time coming, but we are very glad to receive the help," said Salter. "When they granted our appeal in September (2010), I initially thought the money for approved repairs would become available shortly, but the wheels have moved very slowly.  

"I learned that there's a quite lengthy process before our project could move on to Washington for a Congressional notification and formal announcement.  We knew help was coming since they committed to that in the September letter, but it certainly has not come quickly.  I think we've finally reached the end of the bureaucratic process!"

The mayor said that the funds will reimburse the city for 85 percent of the repair costs. The 88-acre lake must be drained before work can begin. The J.M. Wilkerson Construction Company of Marietta has been chosen to make the repairs to the dam. A construction date has not yet been set.


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