Settlement clears way for Kokomo baseball home opener

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A dispute involving the federal and state governments over how Kokomo built part of a baseball stadium in a flood-prone area meant to remain green space was resolved Friday on the eve of the opening game.

Gov. Mike Pence said in a news release Friday that a dispute involving the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security had been settled, commending the two agencies for "working together in good faith."

The Kokmo Jackrabbits are scheduled to host the Danville Dans 7:05 p.m. Saturday in a Prospect League game.

FEMA determined last year that the baseball stadium project along Wildcat Creek was not in compliance with its rules. The state in February announced it would take legal action against the city because of unresolved compliance issues. Federal officials then announced in March they would suspend more than $6 million in funding for Indiana because of the dispute. They announced earlier this month it was reinstating hazard mitigation grants for all of Indiana except for Kokomo.

FEMA and Indiana Department of Homeland Security directed the city of Kokomo to make a number of changes to the parcels, either by changing building plans or removing existing structures or other unallowable elements. Homeland Security officials say the city complied with the majority of these changes within the last 30 days.

Homeland Security Executive Director David Kane said the dispute could have been avoided, saying approval is needed before making changes on deed-protected properties purchased with federal mitigation funds.

"If pre-approval is not secured, there can be expensive, time-consuming complications," he said.


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