Flood waters creep up on homes along the Wolf River Harbor in 2015.
Shelby County and Tennessee have won a $60 million federal grant to implement a plan to make the area more secure in the face of natural disasters, especially flooding.
In 2015, the Memphis-Shelby County Office of Sustainability (MSCOS) applied for the National Disaster Resilience Competition. The office became a finalist in the competition against other counties, states, cities, and Puerto Rico for a piece of a $1 billion grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Shelby County's plan, called "Greenprint for Resiliency," focuses primarily on flood storage in the places hardest hit by the 2011 storms: along Big Creek in Millington, along Wolf Creek in Memphis, and South Cypress Creek in Southwest Memphis.
“This is one of the largest grants ever awarded to Shelby County government," Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said in a statement. "It’s unique in that it will allow us to protect neighborhoods from future flood damage and give us new opportunities to expand the greenways and recreation areas along the Mississippi River and its tributaries,”
Several city and county agencies worked together to create the plan, including: the Shelby County Public Works Division, MSCOS, Shelby County Housing Department, and the city of Memphis Engineer’s Office.
The county is required to use the grant in four ways:
• Big Creek Wetland and Recreation Area near Millington -
A new flood plain will be created to reduce damage to nearby neighborhoods.The project will also create wetlands and nature wildlife areas.
• Wolf River restoration and Greenway -
Areas in Raleigh and Frayser near Rodney Baber and Kennedy Parks will be improved to guard against flood waters.
• South Cypress Creek Watershed and Neighborhood Development in Southwest Memphis -
The grant will pay for the relocation of homeowners near Weaver Park.
• Resilience Research -
Grant funds will be used to identify the risks from floods, earthquakes and other catastrophes.
Officials said the projects are now under designed and should be completed in three years.