After the devastating flood in early May, 2010, Metro Nashville signed on for a buyout program to help owners of the homes hit hardest by the flood to recover their losses. The goal of the program was “to reduce loss of life and property from any future significant flood event in Davidson County.” The program initially identified 305 properties eligible for the buyout, and sent letters out to the owners of these properties to give them the option to participate in the voluntary program. Of those 305 eligible, 249 homeowners expressed interest in the program. It then gave priority to those whose homes were damaged to 50% of their pre-flood values.
Four community meetings were held to discuss the program, with an initial timeline set to start purchasing homes within 12 to 24 months of the program’s beginning using funds from federal, state, and local budgets. So far, it is staying on schedule. The first phase of 81 homes have already closed, and a second wave is set to begin with 41 additional homes approved for purchase and destruction in the coming months. The homeowners getting buy-out offers are scattered throughout Nashville, in areas including Delmar Drive in west Nashville, Whites Creek, Pennington Bend, and Buena Vista.
What will happen to these properties once they are purchased? By law, property acquired in a buyout must be cleared and forever remain open space. Metro will be allowed to create public parks or wildlife refuges, but cannot sell the property to private individuals or develop it. This is to prevent future homes from being built in harm’s way in case a natural disaster of this magnitude were to strike again.