In February 2023, the Town of Black Mountain received $5 million in ARPA LASII funding for the Swannanoa Floodplain Project identified in the Stormwater Master Plan Update. The LASH grant funding pays all costs associated with developing and constructing this project. The original project location included the North Bank of the Swannanoa River from Hwy 9 to 1-40 near the Community Gardens. In August 2023, the town solicited requests for qualifications for engineering firms to assist with the project. During the process, firms expressed varying concerns regarding the project scope and proposed time lines. Timelines are beyond the control of the town and a ll LASII construction projects in this grant must be completed and closed by the end of 2026. Failing to meet the required federal deadlines creates financial risk for the Town. Due to the timeframe of the funding and project deadlines required by the federal government, the Town has determined pursuing this project at the original location is unachievable. The town subsequently issued a cancellation notice for engineering proposals on August 18, 2023, which may be viewed here. To ensure a successful project for all stakeholders, the granting authority has allowed the town to complete an alternate project that is similar in nature which is also identified in the Stormwater Master Plan. The new project area will encompass two locations which are both located on town owned property. The first location will be on E. State near Hemphill Road and the second will include the property behind Riverwalk Park. The project will mitigate flood risks within the project area and downstream, reduce the erosive forces and provide water quality treatment during the more frequent storms. The constructed wetlands will also provide enhanced public spaces, protect public infrastructure, create wildlife habitat in addition to flood storage and water quality improvements. These nature-based solutions provide the same type of benefits as the original project, but involve fewer property owners, which reduces the lengthy and complex process of acquiring easements under the federal regulations. The Town will work with on-call engineers to develop a scope for the new project locations to present to NCDEQ for approval. Once the scope is approved, the town will invite proposals for administration and construction for this project.