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Friday, October 1, 2004

Cape Girardeau homeowners and business owners whose houses and businesses are no longer likely to flood but who are still paying for flood insurance got a bit of good news this week. The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that it may have new flood-plain maps by next spring, some two years earlier than the federal agency's original timetable.

The revised schedule for producing the maps came after local officials complained that the process was taking too long and costing homeowners and business owners unnecessary premiums for flood insurance. The assistance of U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson also was enlisted. As a result, FEMA shortened its schedule considerably.

The boundaries of the city's flood plain have shrunk because of the $40 million flood-control project that channels storm runoff through the city. That project, which took 11 years, was completed last April.

Officials also held out the possibility that some property owners will be entitled to refunds of insurance premiums they've paid since the completion of the flood-control project.

The flood-control project is a major advancement in Cape Girardeau's infrastructure that allows more property to be safely developed and protects dozens of existing structures from repeated flooding after major thunderstorms.

Everyone who had a hand in getting this project completed and in getting FEMA to speed up its flood-plain maps deserves the thanks of city residents.

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