Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Date Available


Executive Summary

After receiving FEMA hazard mitigation grants to improve weather and water management infrastructure, many communities are able to complete additional capital improvement projects that would not have been possible without the improvements facilitated by FEMA grants. FEMA projects often convert tracts of land to greenspace, or stabilize flood-damaged lands. Many communities then build public parks on such lands as a direct result. Although these parks or greenspaces create a benefit for their communities, FEMA’s methods for post-project evaluation, known as “Loss Avoidance Studies,” do not typically take the costs and benefits of new parks or greenspaces into consideration. From 2011-2015, London, Kentucky conducted a FEMA-funded overhaul of its drainage infrastructure, and the project led to the opening of two new parks: The Whitley Branch Veterans Park and the London Rotary Playground. This study is a cost-benefit analysis that estimates the monetary value of the benefit that London will experience from using the two new parks for approximately the next 20 years. Findings from this report suggest that London, Kentucky’s parks will produce approximately $681,751 of marginal user benefit from the two parks, offsetting 37% of the $1,839,321 of cost required to build and maintain them. Because cost-benefit analysis is highly uncertain, I have included a sensitivity analysis that presents reasonable best and worst-case possible returns on investment. Current FEMA Loss-Avoidance methodology does not take the after effects of mitigation into account. By at least examining additional projects catalyzed by its grants, FEMA could gain a more holistic view of the impact that its grants are having at the local level.



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