HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Solutions for big problems, like flooding, can come with big price tags. Now thanks to a new trend in the investment world, covering the cost of environmental projects just got a little easier.
The City of Hampton is the first in our area to test out environmental impact bonds, also known as EIB’s. Hampton is able to access this type of funding through a partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
“Hampton is really a leader in the resiliency sector and looking at how flooding can be a tackled in a holistic approach that has multiple benefits,” explained Christy Everett, the Hampton Roads Director for the CBF.
The money comes from private investors who want to do environmental good. Hampton already has a few ideas on how they would spend the money.
“What we’re really trying to do now is look at how the natural systems deal with these kinds of issues around additional rain and flooding and see if we can’t replicate those kinds of natural solutions to this,” said Terry O’Neill, the Director of Community Development for the City of Hampton.
Past solutions were things like drainage ditches, which are not particularly aesthetic and limited in how much water they can hold. New green infrastructure projects would look more like a natural wetlands, with ecosystems, more room to hold water and maybe even sidewalks alongside for the community to enjoy.
Hampton city officials hope to share what they learn through this opportunity with the rest of Hampton Roads.
“We feel like if we study it, if we learn a lot about it, if we try things, then we’re going to come up with a lot of unique solutions on how to deal with that in our community that could be transferable to other communities,” O’Neill said.
Hampton city officials have decided to focus initial efforts on the New Market Creek basin. The ave the first community meeting to decide on project design at the end of January.