Our Economic Future is at Stake
Local leaders and the Flood Prevention District Council are methodically working with State and Federal regulatory agencies to improve the levees protecting the Metro East portion of the St. Louis region. These improvements will meet new federal safety standards, ensure continued certification of the levees, and continue to protect lives and property in the American Bottom. Despite these ongoing efforts, if levee improvements are not completed before the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) returns to the region to complete a flood hazard remapping project, a significant portion of the American Bottom will be designated as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) – a designation that disregards the presence of our levees due to them not meeting the new federal standards. If FEMA is successful in implementing its new maps prior to completion of the levee improvements, it will:
- require large numbers of residential and commercial property owners in the expanded SFHA to purchase even more costly flood insurance;
- restrict new developments by placing additional regulations on construction and raising building elevation requirements;
- create greater insurance and operating costs for both large and small businesses; and
- reduce this region’s opportunities to attract new jobs and capital investment.
The Alliance was created to do whatever it could to ensure the timely completion of improvements to the Metro East levees in order to meet new federal standards and to prevent the potentially devastating economic outcomes of FEMA’s flood plain mapping on the St. Louis region, particularly for the more than 150,000 residents, 4,000 employers and 56,000 jobs in the American Bottom. Our core objectives are to:
- improve the Metro East levees to the new federal standards through the efforts of the Flood Prevention District (FPD) Council;
- eliminate the need for designation of our levee-protected areas in the American Bottom as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) by FEMA; and
- avoid the potentially devastating economic damage that would be created by an SFHA designation with its mandatory flood insurance requirements and construction restrictions.
The Alliance is administered by the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, a member-based, economic development corporation representing Madison and St. Clair counties. The Council works to attract/retain jobs and stimulate capital investment through its coalition of leaders in business, industry, labor, education and government. These effective partnerships serve as a driving force behind successful economic development efforts throughout the Metro East region.