City of Cumberland getting nearly three million dollar grant

By Angela Sparkman | 

FEMA has approved nearly three million dollars to pay for water, sewer, and emergency equipment in parts of Harlan County.

The mayor of the city of Cumberland says the money will go towards flood prevention projects and repairing old equipment.

Right now, sandbags line the streets in Cumberland, designed to hold water back when it rains.

"It doesn't take much water to overflow that and send the water over main street over there," said Mayor Carl Hatfield.

Broken culverts at Russell Drive off of Big Cove Branch send water gushing into streets, and city officials have to close roads when the water gets too high.

"The culvert is crushed on the highway out there. It's not adequate to handle the flow of water that comes through this small ditch here," said Mayor Hatfield.

Soon those problems will end. FEMA approved a nearly three million dollar hazard mitigation grant to make repairs and end the flooding.
The project includes installing a 48-inch box culvert to be directed southward to Looney Creek. This will bypass the National Register of Historic Places.

"We're always looking for improvements, and that'd be a big improvement," said Bill Deal who lives in Cumberland.

Bill Deal has another problem next to his home, the sewer equipment.

"The sewer gets a bad smell later on in the summertime. It gets pretty ranky sometimes," Deal said.

Part of the grant money will also replace four old sewage lift stations in town.

The money will also buy generators and several emergency warning sirens in Cumberland, Benham, and Lynch.

Mayor Hatfield says the city could not afford these repairs itself, and the grant money will make a big difference.

"It will make a tremendous difference especially to the health and service of the people," said Mayor Hatfield.

The Kentucky Emergency Management Hazard Mitigation Program will administer the grant of $2,944,444. FEMA will provide 90 percent of the funding, the Kentucky Department for Local Government will provide nine percent and the Harlan County Fiscal Court will provide one percent of the funding.

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