Reducing flood zone

 The decision by the New Albany Board of Aldermen to have an engineering firm try to develop information to reduce the area designated as flood plain is a good one.

What the outcome will be is unknown, but we consider it money well spent to attempt to reduce the size of the area that has been designated as flood plain on new maps drawn up by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Designating large amounts of low-lying land in the county, including much of the land bordering the Tallahatchie River, as flood-prone could greatly impede future development and increase the cost of that development.

New Albany areas that would be the most severely affected include businesses along Carter Avenue, businesses near Bankhead Street and the New Albany Sportsplex and the proposed expansion of the Sportsplex. Much of the flat land proposed for development east of the former Safari’s restaurant and owned by developer John Young also is included in the flood plain.

The city is sharing the cost of the engineering work with Mr. Young and the owner of a smaller piece of property in the proposed flood plain.

A public hearing on the proposed new maps will be held Nov. 19, and the city hopes to provide topographical evidence to negate some of the flood plain designation.

State and federal emergency management agencies require that Union County and the cities of New Albany, Blue Springs and Myrtle adopt the maps at some point after the hearing is completed.

The city, assisted by the private sector, is doing the right thing in making certain that the final maps are based on engineering fact and not broad generalizations. Getting it right before the maps are adopted is much easier—and cheaper—then trying to undo the decision later.