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Cave Spring relief runs into snag

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A Rome-Floyd County Emergency Management drone image of recent Cave Spring flooding, looking toward the south. / Contributed-RFCEMA

More than a month after flooding effectively shut down the town for several days, Cave Spring is still waiting for word on recovery assistance.

"We met the threshold amount, no doubt about it," Floyd County Emergency Management Agency Director Tim Herrington said Monday. "The issue we have is that it wasn't a federally declared disaster."

Cave Spring sustained significant flooding when Little Cedar Creek overflowed Aug. 2, following an unusual weather pattern that pounded the south end of the county with more than seven inches of rain in three days.

Much of the downtown district was closed, with at least four or five inches of standing water covering The Square. Floyd County Public Works Director Michael Skeen described the creek, Rolater Park and the main street looking like a single body of water.

County Commission Chair Rhonda Wallace signed an emergency declaration and state and local officials toured the area to determine the damage. According to Chief Assessor Danny Womack, the damage is estimated at $680,000.

Herrington said the county was potentially eligible for financial recovery assistance once the loss hit $348,667.54 — calculated by multiplying the official population of 96,317 by $3.62.

Without a federal disaster declaration by President Donald Trump, he filed a request for state aid last month with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. But it may be deemed just a local disaster.

"I was hoping Polk County would apply, but they didn't meet the threshold to submit paperwork," Herrington said. "Ringgold in Catoosa County had an EF-1 tornado, but they also sustained only minor damage. I was hoping we could piggyback on those counties."

Still, Herrington said there could be other sources of recovery assistance for Cave Spring, such as low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration. He said he's hoping GEMA will turn up some options.

"If there's anything out there, we're going to try to get it," he said.

Note: This report was updated to include the damage estimate.