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DNR Approves Kokomo's Flood Management Plan

Kokomo officials say the Indiana Department of Natural Resources' approval of the city's flood management plan shows the city is successfully developing plans to avoid future flood damage and is meeting federal requirements for doing so.

The city recently became involved in a dispute with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency regarding eight parcels of land in the area where a new baseball stadium is being built.

The state and federal agency asked the city to stop construction on that property, saying the construction plans did not meet FEMA requirements for flood-prone areas and could cost the Indiana millions of dollars in grant funds.

The DNR approval is a separate but parallel case. The flood management plan involves three major areas in the city, including an area near the baseball stadium.

“The City of Kokomo has been working with the DNR for several months to meet FEMA’s requirement that communities update their floodplain ordinances,” Kokomo City Engineer Carey Stranahan said in a statement. “The final DNR approval confirms that the city’s regulations meet FEMA’s requirements that are designed to protect current property owners from additional flood risk, while promoting responsible development.”

Kokomo residents experienced a major flood in April 2013, which city officials called the "worst on record." The areas most effected, which included about 400 homes, have been subject to flooding in the past, prompting the city to buy up some of the properties and create a long-term flood mitigation plan.

Regarding the FEMA dispute, a city of Kokomo spokesman says the eight parcels of land have been roped off, but construction continues on the rest of the baseball stadium.

He says FEMA is expected to respond with a resolution by Wednesday.

Sen. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, has also filed legislation that would authorize the Indiana Department of Homeland Security to intervene, and issue a cease-and-desist order to stop work on the baseball stadium.

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