NORFOLK, Nebraska (KCAU) – For many in Norfolk, the recovery process in the wake of the Flood of 2019 continues more than two years later.
Thursday, Norfolk residents had a chance to bounce their ideas off flood experts as they create their latest local mitigation plan.
“That’s been really good just to hear the public talk about those things, and just give actual concrete things that we can put in that plan in the future,” Katie Ringland with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources said.
The department, along with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, hosted an open house at the Divots Conference Center in Norfolk to make for a more welcoming environment for feedback.
“They don’t just see us as the big, scary state. We’re actually just normal people who are looking to help other people,” Lexy Hindt with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency said.
Ringland says one of the biggest concerns folks brought up regarded more immediate funding in the aftermath of extreme flooding–a part of that local plan which could compete with 22 other local plans all informed by a statewide comprehensive plan.
“So, part of that mitigation plan is to prioritize projects. So, after the disaster, we have to prioritize which ones get funding,” Ringland said.
“Most of the communities in Nebraska are really small, and don’t have the tax base to put up these multi-million dollar projects, so, if there’s additional funding, it can make the community more resilient,” Hindt said.
That’s why both Ringland and Hindt say hearing from the folks who witnessed the damage of March 2019 firsthand is crucial to creating that statewide plan.
“We look at those hazards, and compare them to the state hazards,” Hindt said.
“They’re the ones that know what happened, and so, we need to hear from them what needs to happen, and so, without that, we’re just kind of making decisions for them, and so, they need to have a piece of that,” Ringland said.
If you missed Thursday’s meeting, you can still input any comments before the statewide plan is finalized here until July 6th at 5 p.m. CT.