Did you know that New Hanover County Parks & Gardens maintains over 22 acres of FEMA Hazard Mitigation Properties?
Over the past several years, New Hanover County has acquired parcels of land through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. The program provides funds for projects that reduce the risk to individuals and property from natural hazards. For some homeowners, this means the acquisition and demolition, or “buyout” of their home and land by FEMA. The home is demolished, and the land is deeded to the local government with an open space restriction. The land must remain open in perpetuity to restore or conserve natural floodplain functions. Once these properties are deeded to New Hanover County, the Parks & Gardens department’s Mobile Division is tasked with maintaining them.
In 2019, Parks & Gardens staff, along with staff and volunteers from the NC Cooperative Extension/NHC Arboretum, began to brainstorm creative ways to make use of these properties. No structures may be built on the parcels, but some of them can be used as passive recreational space and educational opportunities. The group has decided to plant trees and pollinator plants on some of these properties to help with stormwater and increase native wildlife, while using them to educate the public on these topics.