Virginia Beach Deputy City Manager explains why he wants to redirect $5 million from FEMA to fix drains at Oceanfront

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Thomas Leahy, the Virginia Beach Deputy City Manager spoke at the Princess Anne Plaza Civic League monthly meeting Tuesday. Leahy explained why City Manager Dave Hansen is asking to redirect $5.3 million the city received from FEMA to make improvements to the Central Resort District drainage system.

The current project to make improvements to the drainage system at the Oceanfront currently has $300,000. According to a letter from Hansen to Mayor Will Sessoms, a study was conducted to develop and evaluate a phased approach to address flooding in the resort area.

Leahy explained the money received from FEMA is a reimbursement for what the city spent to clean up following Hurricane Matthew. He also stressed this is not taking money away from hard-hit areas, including the Princess Anne Plaza and Windsor Woods neighborhoods.

The first phase of the project at the Oceanfront is expected to redirect 25 acres of drainage flow from the intersection of 21st Street and Baltic Avenue to the existing 16th Street pump station for $15 million. Leahy also mentioned that project is the only one getting zero funding in the budget the city approved earlier this year, whereas other projects, including Princess Anne Plaza and Windsor Woods, were fully funded.

Citizens will be able to voice their opinions at the Nov. 21 city council hearing during a public hearing.