New program helps Mecklenburg County residents who live in flood zones

- A new county-wide program is helping people who work and live in flood zones in the Charlotte area.

One such area in north Charlotte used to be a neighborhood, and it used to flood often, but the county bought the land from owners and transformed it into a park. They’re now offering to people whose property floods frequently. 

The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of people who have to be rescued from their homes or businesses when the heavy rain hits Mecklenburg County.

“It's our buyout program and over the last 20 years, we have bought more than 400 properties,” said

People can sell their land to the county, and in turn, the county will transform it into a piece of property that's meant to absorb some of the rain water.

“Their incentive is to get away from the danger, get away from the flooding, and so giving them a reasonable price, a fair market price for the value of the property is what we do.”

One example is the Hidden Valley Ecological Garden at the corner of North Tryon and Wellingford St. in north Charlotte.

At one time, there were 16 homes along this road.

If the homes were still here, last week when it poured, they would have been flooded.

“That was the best part of the program; it really was, because those peoples' lives were in danger,” 

While neighbors agree that the program helps to save lives, they argue there's still room for improvement.

“If you're going to put us a park, put us a park. Put us a basketball goal, you know,” 

Neighbors say the county doesn't keep this area trimmed and clean cut, but the county says they mow it once a week.

There are also drains all along the property that collect water and run it into the creek.

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